Components & Peripherals News
10 Top Printer Industry Trends To Watch In 2021
While this year is likely to see an increase in office printing, opportunities around serving work-from-home print needs are expected to continue.
Ink Services Growth
With the shift to work-from-home, print giant HP saw a breakout year in 2020 for its Instant Ink home ink delivery service. The subscription service monitors printer usage and automatically provides ink deliveries to the home, so that users can avoid running out of ink. HP reported having 9 million subscribers to Instant Ink as of the end of January 2021, up from 5 million prior to the pandemic.
Tuan Tran (pictured), president of Imaging, Printing and Solutions at HP, said in an interview with CRN that HP “always had two value propositions for Instant Ink--one was cost, and the other one was convenience.” But in 2020, “the convenience value proposition went way up, because people didn’t want to come back to the store, even if they could,” Tran said. “They wanted their ink to just be self-monitoring. And that helped our channel partners to attach Instant Ink 2X to 3X what we saw pre-pandemic. There was a spike in printer shipments, but there was a much bigger spike in Instant Ink subscriptions.”
Kmetz said he expects ink delivery services to become a broader trend in the print market beyond just HP. Canon, for instance, now offers its Easy Ink Delivery service that aims to simplify ink re-orders (though the deliveries don’t happen automatically as with Instant Ink).
For at-home workers, “productivity can come to a screeching halt” if ink runs out in the midst of a project, Kmetz said. “Having a mechanism like what HP has, to proactively send out a cartridge, can help to avoid a disastrous situation. I think you’ll see this more from other manufacturers as well.”