There are no two more important metrics in office and production printing than the size of the installed base (aka MIF/Machines in Field) and the volume of pages being printed across these devices. The reasons for this are simple. Like any mature and service-driven industry, the sale of new office and production printing equipment almost always requires the replacement of existing units and the profitability of printer/MFP manufacturers and their resellers is overwhelmingly reliant on how many pages each of those devices produce once installed.

This idea is pretty elementary within the print industry, but outsiders may be surprised to learn that these installed base dynamics are at play across all of their work and home lives. Yes, even you. If you own a car, a smartphone, or a razor, your devices are part of each of these industries’ installed base and your usage (miles, cartridge replacements, minutes/data) is their version of page volume.

Installed Base

Photo Credits: Bloomberg and

This makes data about your product ownership and usage invaluable to Toyota, Apple/AT&T, and Gillette, as well as every other player in the auto, smartphone, and razor industries. However, there has always been a disconnect between the importance of the installed base and the availability of this information, especially for products that are sold by competitors or through independent resellers.

We can’t help auto manufacturers and razor brands bridge this gap (yet), but we are happy to announce the launch of the new gap intelligence Printer and MFP Installed Base and Page Volume Report. This report combines gap intelligence’s industry-standard product pricing and specification information with an over 2.48 million-device installed base that generates more than 14.7 billion monthly pages, and is representative of the installed base controlled by traditional US BTA dealers and manufacturer direct sales organizations.

As you may expect, this report answers A LOT of industry questions, and although most of these answers are exclusively available to gap intelligence Installed Base and Page Volume Report clients, here are four big insights sourced from the report’s billions of unit and page volume data points.

1. Dealer/Direct-Exclusive A4 Color MFPs Are Growing Fast!

Like the Dollar Shave Club, it’s always the new product segments and channel strategies that are the most disruptive, and this is certainly true in printing. Since first emerging in 2008, BTA-exclusive A4 Color Small Workteam and Workgroup MFPs have slowly expanded, now representing a 2.2% share of all products in the gap intelligence installed base. This trend also makes BTA-exclusive A4 Color MFPs the youngest segments across the entire installed base, with an average age since launch of almost exactly four years (vs. a 76 month average age of all office SFPs and MFPs). Given the age and size of the installed base, gaining a 3% share with just a handful of products over just a few years is a BIG deal, and the youth of these models suggests that this segment is still very much in its growth phase.

Dollar Shave Club

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2. There Are Really Old Printers Out There!!!

You know when you see a 1981 Chevy Chevette on the highway and you wonder how those things are still around? Well the printer installed base is full of similar relics of the past. In fact, an astonishing 2.5% of all units in the installed base launched over 15 years ago, including more than a handful of units that are older than that ‘81 Chevette! These antiquated printers and their performance-forgiving owners may not provide the same replacement sales opportunities as the seven-to-ten year-old devices in the installed base that are approaching end-of-life (13% share), but their mere presence in today’s fleets is impressive and a testament to the importance of a good service technician.

1981 Chevette

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3. Some Products Just Dominate the Installed Base…

What do the Apple iPhone and HP’s iconic LaserJet 4250 have in common? These devices are everywhere. Although not quite matching the iPhone’s 44% share of all US smartphones, the LaserJet 4250 represents a 1.5% share of the total gap intelligence installed base and produces roughly 1% of all office pages printed each month. Considering that BTA dealers and direct sales branches rarely lead with open distribution printers, combined with the fact that this 45ppm A4 mono SFP launched over 11 years ago, the LaserJet 4250’s presence in the installed base (and its role in MPS) is truly astonishing.

Word Bubble

4. Dealers and Direct Branches are Still Leading with A3s.

Despite all the noise around BTA-exclusive A4 MFPs and the massive presence of HP’s ageless A4 LaserJets, copier dealers and direct sales branches remain extremely A3-centric and there is little evidence that this is going to change significantly anytime soon. In fact, A3 office MFPs represent a massive 62% of the gap intelligence installed base and produce an even more impressive 84% of all office pages produced each month, suggesting that A4-centric manufacturers should spend less time promoting the low usage of ledger-size paper and more time developing an A3 portfolio of their own.

Word Bubble

Although many are quick to point out the headwinds facing office and production printing, it’s still a $100 billion industry with plenty of opportunities to find growth, and it’s almost certain that the winning vendors will be those who successfully target and grow within the most valuable areas of the installed base.

We may not be able to help the razor industry make it through the current beard trend without damage, but we are certain that the gap intelligence Page Volume and Installed Base Report can help printer manufacturers understand the opportunities available to them within the installed base.