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Kris Alvarez

Will Office Print Volume Ever Return to Normal? It Depends.

Forecast of the impact of COVID-19 on print volume for small to large companies

Mar 15, 2021 12:22:28 PM


March 11, 2021 marked the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) official declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic, which continues to leave its mark on a global scale. As the number of daily administered vaccination doses climbs in the US and we grow closer to herd immunity, it begs the question of whether office print volumes will ever revisit pre-pandemic figures in the near future.


When Keypoint Intelligence published our US and WE Marking Supplies forecast for 2018-2024 in late 2020, the forecast detailed the potential affects COVID-19 would have on print volumes in the office and home. Our recent forecast goes a step further by analyzing the potential effects the pandemic will have on print volumes by company size and vertical market type.


The Shift From Office to Home

It’s no question that COVID-19 has prompted a major swing in the environments in which we work—one that has a huge stake in the future of office print volume. This shift is more than just transient, as a survey inquiring if workers expect an increase in work-from-home opportunities shows that those working for large companies (97%) believe more employees will work from home at least semi-permanently in the future, with 88% from mid-sized organizations expecting the same. Those working for smaller organizations (47%), however, expect a smaller likelihood that employees will work from home after the pandemic.


This projection coincides with COVID precautions to limit the volume of people in any given indoor space, with it being easier to monitor and execute proper safety protocol within a company with fewer employees. This makes a strong case for larger companies to instate work-from-home opportunities even as the pandemic dies down. Company size aside, 78% of respondents anticipate the strong probability that employees will be working from home more often. 


Knowledge Workers and Office Workers Sent to Work From Home During the Pandemic
Source: US Office Group IT Decision Maker Survey 2020


Relative to the “new normal” of working remotely more frequently, respondents were asked if office print volumes were expected to be greater or lesser than pre-pandemic, to which those in companies with 250+ workers felt they’d see a 16% decline versus mid-sized (13%) and small companies (10%).


US Expected Office Environment Print Volume Change Pre- vs. Post-pandemic by Company Size
Source: US Office Group IT Decision Maker Survey 2020



Going Forward

Given the speculation of the state of office versus work-from-home environments, is there hope that office print volumes will go back to how they once were? According to forecasting, the answer will be more dependent on the size of your organization than anything else. Even then, office print volumes may never truly see pre-pandemic numbers—at least not in the foreseeable 2022.


However, while it may be a bit optimistic to assume that print volume in the office will bounce back completely in a year’s time, we do expect it to slowly make its way back in the direction of previous numbers—just less so for larger companies. From pre-pandemic print volume (February 2020) up until a prospective point of stabilization beginning around August 2022, our forecasting shows that larger companies of 500+ workers will end up seeing a 23% reduction in impressions printed in the office. Organizations with 100 to 499 employees are looking at a potential 18% reduction in office print volume, with companies of 20 to 99 workers looking at a 14% reduction, and companies of 1 to 20 employees looking at 11% fewer pages. These estimates are directionally in-line with IT decision maker estimates and are built upon Keypoint Intelligence’s estimates by vertical market.


Future Projected Office Print Volume by Company Size per Month (in Billions of Impressions)

Data by Vertical Market (Updated February 2020, 2020-2022)
Source: US Print Volume Forecast for COVID-19 Impact



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