Everyone’s least favorite desktop device goes in the trash
Request printers has been steadily declining for years, but the pandemic has caused print volume to plummet, new data shows.
According to a report analyst firm IDC Based on a survey of 4,700 full-time employees, the number of pages printed from home and office devices fell 14% last year due to the shift to remote work.
The decline was most extreme for the types of printers commonly found in office environments; the use of laser printers fell by 16%, while A3 printers collected an even more generous dust layer.
On the other hand, the number of pages browsed inkjet printers (often used at home) was actually up 4% from 2019 levels. IDC believes about half of the pages printed at home last year were work-related.
Although IDC data shows print volume rebounded somewhat in 2021, the company predicts a steep decline in the coming years. The obvious factor behind the decline is the rise of digital products and services, which has reduced demand for printing in traditionally most dependent industries (e.g. publishing, advertising, education).
“Home-printed pages will not compensate for office decline as organizations and governments continue to pursue paperless initiatives and digital transformation programs,” said Ilona Stankeova, senior research director, Imaging Devices and document solutions, IDC Europe.
Other possible factors include the cost of printer ink, as well as a growing awareness of environmental impact among the public. A recent report by consumer watchdog Which ?, for example, showed that some premium printer inks are now more expensive per milliliter than champagne.
According to IDC’s most optimistic forecasts, demand for printing will fall 1.9% within five years. But in the worst case, the drop could reach 5.1%.
That said, big brands will take comfort in knowing that around 2.3 trillion pages are still expected to be printed in 2025, or 4.4 million pages per minute. While the influence of the printing industry is clearly waning, it will still be some time before a truly paperless ecosystem reaches maturity.