In the world of print, there are two main categories: hardware and consumables. Naturally, these categories go hand-in-hand, but the way that they are treated by manufacturers is very different. OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) often earn 50% or more of their print-related revenue through consumables sales. While a printer is a one-time purchase, consumables must be replenished regularly. With that, it’s critical for OEMs to ensure that customers purchase their brand’s printer supplies. As the print industry continues to consolidate and revenues decline, the need for OEMs to maintain market share becomes ever more vital.

Ink Colors

Aftermarket Companies are Good at Playing Keep-Up

Laser supplies are particularly vulnerable to the threat of aftermarket manufacturers. Higher price points make toner cartridges more profitable products to manufacture and sell for non-OEM companies. OEMs spend a great deal of time and money trying to secure their intellectual property (IP) by filing lawsuits against patent-infringers. Printer manufacturers have also added electronic chips to their cartridges to prevent non-OEM toners from working in their devices. Nevertheless, new aftermarket brands keep cropping up, many of which manufacture their products overseas. International laws often make the litigation of illegal aftermarket operations more difficult.

New Aftermarket Brands Crop Up Year After Year

Aftermarket manufacturers are becoming faster and faster when it comes to duplicating toner cartridges. First-to-market times are often within six months of the original product launch, keeping OEMs on their toes. Aftermarket companies often have their own research & development teams that reproduce electronic chips, or they can be purchased from other suppliers. OEMs are facing mounting pressure to shorten product lifespans and produce new hardware and supplies in order to maintain market share. Many OEMs have released marketing brochures to warn their customers about the risks of using aftermarket supplies. These campaigns often include information on the potential for poor print quality, lower page yields, and even broken printers.

Aftermarket companies have come up with their own marketing solutions to counteract the OEM's efforts. Many offer 100% satisfaction guarantees, lifetime warranties, and some even provide “broken printer” guarantees. More non-OEMs are listing their products on Amazon, where customers can easily shop for the lowest price for cartridges compatible with their printer hardware. Indeed, the fight against non-OEMs is an uphill battle for printer manufacturers.

Active Non-OEM SKUs in Online Channel Have Increased by Over 2300 in Three Years


The aftermarket threat can seem daunting to printer manufacturers, but it doesn't have to be quite so alarming. At gap intelligence, we provide our clients with comprehensive data on products, pricing, placements, and promotions for all major players in the laser supplies market. We track both OEM and non-OEM brands, related patent-infringement lawsuits, corporate structure changes, financial reports, and more. Our Market Intelligence Reports give clients the timely, accurate, and impactful updates they need to make crucial decisions in an evolving industry. Above all, we truly care about our clients. We understand that their workflows depend on our quality data, insightful reports, and meaningful analyses. No other little company in the world can offer such all-inclusive market intelligence services. We strive to put the “great” in GFD.

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