CEE Printing Market H1 2015 – The Great Divide

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The FINANCIAL — Although the overall Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) hardcopy peripherals (HCP) market recorded its worst half-year ever in H1 2015, the more detailed picture reveals “a tale of two markets”.  

In total, over 2.15 million printers and MFPs shipped in the CEE region in H1 2015, representing close to $580 million in market value. This is less than half the market levels recorded in H1 2008, when more than 5.6 million devices valued at over $1,449 million were shipped. According to the EMEA Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker published by International Data Corporation (IDC), shipments of printers and MFPs declined more than 26% in first half of 2015, and market value contracted by nearly 30%. The overall CEE results represent a sharp contrast to the markets of the U.S. or Western Europe (WE), where HCP shipments grew or were stable in the first half of the year in line with the recovering economy, according to IDC.

If one looks only at the Central Europe (CE) part of the region, however, the situation was much brighter, more closely resembling Western European trends. H1 2015 HCP shipments in most countries grew year on year, some of them posting double-digit increases. The Czech Republic market grew the most — up over 36% in volume terms — while Hungary recorded 12% growth over the same period in 2014, and shipments to Poland increased 5%. In addition to the recovering economy, growth was supported by renewed interest in inkjet MFPs.

From a sub-regional perspective, the CE results serve to more dramatically highlight the troubles in markets farther east. In a development that has been ongoing for so long it’s become somewhat trite to point out, the overall CEE decline can be traced to developments in Russia, Ukraine, and CIS countries in general. Year on year, shipments to Russia dropped by almost by half in volume and by close to 60% in value. The Ukraine market plummeted 56% in volume terms, while other CIS countries recorded a collective contraction of 30%. As opposed to CE market dynamics, slowing GDP, tight economic conditions, and the related budget deficit dragged the Russian market down. Russia’s market shares many of these traits with Ukraine and other CIS countries, as well as other negative factors such as high volatility of the ruble and general channel uncertainty. “Given the severe market conditions, Kyocera’s performance is worth noting,” says Ilona Stankeova, research director with IDC CEMA. “In addition to enacting an aggressive pricing policy especially for Russia, Kyocera fixed prices in rubles and provided the desired stability and predictability for both channels and customers. These moves helped Kyocera to win several tenders, as well as being the only vendor in Russia to increase sales in H1 2015.”

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For the second half of 2015, IDC expects stability in the Central European printing market and a further decline of the overall Russian market. In view of reduced IT budgets reduction and the import substitution policy pout into play by the Russian government, IDC recommends that foreign hardware manufacturers closely monitor government activities, as well as those of local IT manufacturers. 

 

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