In this day and age, you might think printing is becoming obsolete.
But despite the obvious decline in commercial print products like magazines and print marketing pamphlets , the world doesn’t seem ready to go paperless just yet.
The emergence of the home office is driving the market towards compact, multifunctional home printers.
While inkjet technology keeps the throne as the most popular technology for offices and home printers around the world, laser printer market share still has an important place as the cost-effective alternative.
Laser Printer Market Share at a Glance
In 2020, amid the COVID-19 crisis, people moved to the home office. The shift to the remote workplace caused a surge in home-grade printing equipment, particularly popular home-office technologies - inkjet and laser printers.
At the beginning of COVID, Brother Industries Limited reported a 30% rise in demand for black-and-white laser printers and as much as 42% more demand for color laser printers.
Some other statistics:
- At the peak of the pandemic in 2020, the value of the worldwide laser printer market reached $18.4B.
- The value of the US laser printer market was at $5B in 2020.
- While the global laser printer toner market alone was estimated at $3.3B.
However, even with this big influx of laser printer sales, laser technology is way less popular than the market-leading inkjet printer tech.
- In 2020, the global inkjet printer market size reached over $41.2B.
- The Western European market prefers ink: 13.4 million inkjet and 3.6 million laser printers were sold in 2020.
So, inkjet definitely takes the cake when it comes to market share ( about 61% of digital print relies on inkjet technology).
Considering that the digital printing industry in the US reached a market size of $13.4B in 2022, the US inkjet tech is worth approximately $8B.
What Makes Inkjet More Popular Than Laser Printers?
Inkjet and laser printers are the main options small business owners and families have for their document printing needs.
- Many opt for inkjet printers for their lower initial cost - however enticing the lower price points of inkjet are, laser printers are more cost-effective when it comes to price per page.
- Users sometimes pick inkjet printers because they’re better at printing colored images, but it goes the other way too - laser printing results in a crisper, cleaner text.
Don’t get us wrong - laser printers can print in color too, and these machines seem to be rising in popularity.
- Laser printers are faster, if only by a fraction - the time it takes from a computer file to a crisp page of text adds up in business and large-volume settings.
- When you simply compare toner and ink cartridges, inkjet may seem like a cheaper option - but it’s really not. Inkjet cartridges usually print fewer pages. It’s important to use it up or the ink might go bad. Toner dust used in laser printers has a longer shelf-life, which is great news both for individual users who don’t print much and for big offices that store boxes of toner to have on hand.
- Home-office users prefer the compact size of inkjet models. If space is an issue, laser printers usually don’t cut it.
So, while inkjet technology rules the market, there’s still a need for laser printers.
In particular, small and medium businesses that print large volumes of text documents greatly benefit from laser printing technology cost, effectiveness, and shelf-life.
Major Laser Printer Manufacturers
The 2021 worldwide revenue for home and office-use printers and copiers was estimated at $10.8B, out of which the US accounts for $1.3B.
However, it’s evident that the market is in decline (estimated at -12.1%) especially due to the economic consequences of the tumultuous first half of 2022.
Big, well-established players have the users’ trust.
- HP is the most popular laser printer producer with as much as 61% of the laser printer market share.
- Canon rules 29.3% of the laser copier market.
- Among home printer users in the UK, Epson was voted 3rd most popular laser printer producer with 17% of the votes.
Long Live the Toner
The numbers around laser printer market share don’t lie - laser printing is not nearly as popular as inkjet, and somewhat unfairly so.
Inkjet printers are the major technology that most users opt for, but there are many reasons for any office to choose a laser printer or copier over an inkjet.
Ultimately, which tech you go for depends on your specific printing needs.