Hewlett-Packard Co. continued its domination in the color printing segment, with Xerox Corp., Lexmark International Inc., Oki Data Americas Inc. and Ricoh Corp. in the mix as well.
Hewlett Packard beat out second place contender Xerox by growing its market share 2 percent; at the same time, Xerox' share declined nearly two percent. HP huge lead over its competitors is the result of providing a product that both VARs and their customers are happy with, according to solution providers.
Although none of the vendors saw blockbuster sales growth, Hewlett Packard saw its overall market share in the space come in at 57.1 percent, while Xerox came in a 24.8 percent. They were followed, in order, by Lexmark, Okidata and Ricoh, each of which registered single-digit market share well below the top two vendors.
Lexmark grew market share marginally (up 1.6 percent to 8.5 percent), while Okidata slid 3.2 percent to record 3.7 percent of market share. Ricoh grew slightly, up .4 percent to 2.8 percent of the market.
The most successful VARs in the segment are not selling color laser printers based on price but are selling print solutions. That can include selling replacement units, consumables (paper and ink) and installations, as well as positioning the product as a value proposition.
Most VARs that do well reselling color laser printers are selling on a value proposition. "They're providing service, not just break-fix, but helping with any problem the customer has," said Neal Durnil, senior manager of business development at Lexmark. "Those are the VARs that are successful. If it's just a price conversation they're having, they're not as successful. Our sweet spot is in solutions, not low price."
"Last year saw a slowdown a bit for all vendors in the category," said Gary Gillam, vice president, Xerox North American channel operations. "The [multifunction printer] category offers an explanation. MFPs was our No. 1 growth category. The good news is we grew twice as fast—60 percent—in MFPs, but MFPs took some of the market share in color laser printers. We're driving growth through the channel with more features and higher performance."
"I would say that Xerox's channel program is currently the strongest in the printer business," said Michael Greenberg, president and founder of PrinTelogy Inc., Denver. "[Xerox's] back-end rebates, marketing programs and support are very strong. It does an excellent job of keeping me and my team focused on the product line."