The downturn is likely to fuel the market shift to print services and other systems that help businesses save costs as traditional hardware sales look set to limp along again this year following a lackluster 2008.
According to data from Gartner, 48.2 million printers, copiers and MFPs were shipped across EMEA in 2008, an 8.4% decline year-on-year and businesses delaying purchases in the tough economic climate.
The fourth quarter in particular was a “pivot point for the world economy” said Tosh Prabhakar, Gartner senior analyst, which created a highly challenging sales environment across all form factors and channels.
“The rapidly deteriorating economic environment is forcing technology providers to look at their business models and make significant adjustments,” he said.
Poor consumer confidence saw spending on print fall 9% for the year and businesses delayed upgrades or cancelled investment in new office equipment as “budgets and cost containment policies became a priority”, said the analyst.
“However, these businesses should instead consider adopting strategic and deployment alternatives such as managed print services, smart MFP and fleet document systems to help better control costs,” he said.
The economic climate caused consumer and businesses to spend cautiously last year and Gartner said the reduced credit availability for individuals and companies will exacerbate the situation for the remainder of 2009.