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Kris Alvarez, John Shane

Dwindling Office Print Volumes and a Surge in Home Printing

US and Western European forecast on the impact of COVID-19

Nov 4, 2020 11:22:28 AM


From airlines/travel to auto parts companies, casinos, and even our digital imaging industry, businesses across the globe have been (and will continue to be) ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic—prompting companies to pivot their businesses to grow in different directions than usual. Specific to our industry is how the pandemic has shifted attention from commercial office environments to home printing as many companies anticipate employees to continue working from home in the next 12 months.

In the fall of 2019, Keypoint Intelligence published our US and Western European Marking Supplies forecast, which could not have anticipated the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic. That forecast also did not separate data between office printing from home printing. We have now published our US and WE Marking Supplies forecast for 2018-2024, which now are adjusted for the coronavirus and separate the office environment from the home environment to better gauge and project the impact COVID-19 will have on print volumes in years to come.


A Look at the Numbers, Then and Now
Overall print volumes in pre-COVID US and Western Europe were previously forecast to drop only slightly year over year. However, the numbers look quite different as the pandemic rages on, especially in the US. That said, page volumes are anticipated to see a slow recovery in future years. Page volumes are currently forecasted for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of -4.5% in the US and -4.9% in Western Europe through 2024.


This expected downturn in print volumes (within the US market specifically) during COVID-19’s onset, the rest of 2020, and beyond can be attributed to Western Europe’s ability to strategize on a national scale to effectively contain the pandemic during the earlier months of the year. Contrarily, those in the US received varying forms of statewide leadership as many began mandating lockdowns and stay-at-home regulations at different points of the pandemic, which increased the duration of socially distant business operations away from the office. As cases continue to rise throughout the states, this may continue to be the case.


That said, the bulk of the foreseen print volume decline comes from the A3 side of the business rather than the A4 side. Seeing as A3 devices are not typically used in home environments, A3 volumes are more contingent on the willingness of employers to allow workers to return to the office amidst the pandemic. While more US employees would prefer to be at the office than at home, in the event the pandemic worsens, US employees will be more likely to work from home for a longer period of time than those in Western Europe.


Home and Office EP Print Volumes (Billions) Current vs. Previous Forecast
Source: Marking Supplies Forecast: 2018-2024


At-Home Print Volumes: What the Future Holds
Given the times, it is easier said than done to look at the glass half full. But there truly is a light at the end of the tunnel—and that light is shining in from home printing environments. While COVID-19 is triggering sizeable losses in office print volume, print volumes in the home are rising swiftly. What’s more, while laser devices largely dominate the office market, inkjet technology will see a surge, as well, as home printing continues to grow.


Home and Office Print Volumes EP and Inkjet (Billions) Current vs. Previous Forecast
Source: Marking Supplies Forecast: 2018-2024


Key Takeaways
Between Western Europe and the United States, the latter could very well have a harder time getting office print volumes back up to speed. The likelihood of longer-term work-from-home policies is sure to track alongside the severity of the virus in the states. On the flip side, the prevalence of such policies is destined to increase at-home print volumes—thus increasing placement of A4 devices in the home. Only time will tell if a business modification like this will dissolve as the virus does or if it is truly here to stay.  


If you’re interested to learn all the details of our forecast, please visit Keypoint Intelligence’s InfoCenter. Not a subscriber? Just send us an email at sales@keypointintelligence.com for more info.