In April, I wrote that vendors are looking to the A4 SOHO inkjet AiO segment as a place to grow their business. As it turns out, inkjet manufacturers may also be looking to the low-end A3 business inkjet segment as an avenue of growth. With that, inkjet manufacturers will continue to focus their efforts on both A4 and A3 business inkjet segments as demand for consumer inkjets continues to decline.
In an effort to drive demand for A3 business inkjet AiOs, vendors are increasing placements for the devices at the retail level. From May 2010 to May 2013, A3 business inkjet placements have demonstrated significant growth by doubling in retail placements from 9 to 18. Since that time, placements for the segment have remained relatively steady.
Similar to an increase in A3 business inkjet AiO placements over the years, vendors are allocating more resources to advertisements in the segment. gap intelligence data indicates that retail ad counts at national retailers including Best Buy and the OSS chains have increased year-over-year by a noteworthy 94% from 17 ads in May 2013 to 33 in May 2014.
The sharp increase in ad counts is mostly attributable to Brother doubling its ad investments to 22 ads and HP growing from zero ads in May 2013 to 5 ads in May 2014. With that, Brother strongly pushed its MFC-J4510DW and MFC-J4710DW, while HP worked to generate demand for its Officejet 7610 over the last twelve months.
While anecdotal evidence suggests that users rarely print A3 pages, some customers may still be inclined to purchase an A3 inkjet for those ‘just-in-case’ situations, especially if the model is on ad with an instant savings promotion.
In addition to a growing retail presence and increasing ad counts for A3 business inkjet AiOs, the segment has also seen a number of new product launches in 2014. The following chart shows year-to-date A3 business inkjet AiO launches:
So far this year, inkjet manufacturers have introduced 6 new products in the segment, with the most recent launch by Brother. Just last week, Brother launched three new A3 business inkjet AiOs that come equipped with new connectivity options including WiFi Direct and NFC, a technology that vendors continue to integrate in their new inkjets, as noted in my first blog.
Given that A3 business inkjet AiO manufacturers have increased their retail presence, grown their ad investments, and launched more of these devices than in years prior, vendors are likely to continue to seek growth in this segment.