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10 Top Printer Industry Trends To Watch In 2020

While the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the industry, opportunities abound in areas such as work-from-home devices, managed print services and app-based workflows.

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Print Business Model Shakeup

Printer supplies have long been the profit driver for the entire industry, but challenges to sales of supplies could lead to transformation in the standard print market business model. At HP Inc., for instance, the drop in supplies revenue over the past year has the company planning later this year to phase out its discounts for printer models that are capable of using non-HP supplies. Thus, customers will still have an option to buy HP printers that can use third-party supplies, but those printers will come with a higher price tag. Meanwhile, the company said it will continue to subsidize the sale of models that only work with HP-branded supplies.

The business model shakeup could prompt other players in the industry to do the same—or not. Analyst Toni Sacconaghi of Bernstein Research wrote in a note to investors that "we applaud HP for acknowledging the challenges in its printing business and taking decisive action." Still, "the business model change is uncertain to succeed, and fraught with risk," Sacconaghi wrote—including the risk that "competitors will not follow, leaving HP as a relatively high-priced player."

 
 
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