HP goes after US$55b A3 printer/copier market

Launching in 2017

HP Inc has announced plans to introduce a range of A3 printer copiers in at bid to boost its share of the A3 printer copier market from five percent. However none of the products will be available this year, and some not until late 2017.

Thirteen of the forthcoming devices are LaserJet based and three are ink-based using HP’s PageWide technology. This uses a fixed print head, unlike inkjet printers where the print head moves across the page. HP says: “the simple architecture of HP PageWide – with only three components that may need replacing – will help lower servicing costs for channel partners.”

The new printers will come with a range of finishing options such as in-cave stapler stacker, hole punch, high capacity staple / stack and booklet makers. HP claims they will make colour affordable. They will have print speeds ranging from 40 ppm to 60 ppm. The HP PageWide Pro devices will be available beginning in the second quarter of 2017 and the HP PageWide Enterprise devices in the third quarter of 2017. The LaserJet devices will be available from the second quarter of 2017.

HP made the announcement at its Global Partner Conference in Boston to some 1300 representatives of HP channel partners, where it also announced its planned acquisition of Samsung’s printer business for US$1.05 billion.

Enrique Lores, president of HP’s imaging, printing and solutions business, described the forthcoming models as “printers with the capabilities of copiers,” and said security would be a key differentiator.

He told the conference: “These printers will integrate all the security features we have in the rest of our portfolio. We are introducing the world’s most secure printers. We did that in the A4 space and now we are doing the same in the A3 space. We are securing the devices, the data and the documents the customers will be printing.”

All but one of the models is designed to be offered as the core of a managed print service rather than being sold outright. The company believes there is ample scope for growth in this market. It claims to be the third largest provider of managed print services worldwide and to have 40 percent of the A4 printer market. However it says it has only five percent of the A3 market, which is says is worth some US$55 billion annually worldwide.

Lores said: “We see a great opportunity transforming our business from a transaction based model to a services based model. We are starting from a position of strength. We are the number one printing company in the world in every category in which we play we have the leading market share

Rob Mesaros, managing director HP South Pacific said that, in Australia the company believed there was a big opportunity in the SMB market. “In Australia the big opportunity in the A3 market is the SMB space, he said.“Depending on how you cut the market about half of it is SMB, and a lot of the A3 printers are sitting in the SMB market, which is where we are very strong in Australia.”

Richard Bailey, president HP Asia Pacific and Japan, said the company had been building up its channel network in preparation for its foray into the A3 market. “Managed print is something we have been doing for the past four or five years and it is one of the fastest growing market segments for us. We have been working on channel our go to market, for quite some time. We have some partners that are in both the A4 and A3 space, and we have some that are new to us in the A3 segment.”

He added: “Managed print started as a direct sales model but in the last four or five years we have put the emphasis on partner sales and we now call that indirect managed print services.A lot of work has now has gone behind getting our partners to sell print as a service.”

The company also announced at the conference substantial changes to its channel programme saying it aimed to boost indirect sales from 80 percent of total to 87 percent within a year.

CEO Dion Weisler told partners attending the conference: “We are investing more than $1 billion per year in channel enablement and reward. Certifying more than 10000 partner engineers per year on the latest technologies so you can deliver value to our joint customers.”

He added: “In the next five years we see transactional business declining globally and service led business nearly doubling. Our partners are embracing contractual services-led business models. It started with our managed print services business. In the future we will have everything as a service, and systems integrations are leading the charge.

Lores acknowledged that the current managed print offering for channel partners was not up to scratch. “We have had a lot of feedback from you that our managed print programs were not flexible enough, that we were offering only two models on how to partner with HP,” he said.

“We have changed that. We see a great opportunity in the managed print space by expanding our reach into small and medium businesses and to do that with you we have created a modular program. We want you to work with HP in the way you want to work. If you want to offer pure services and buy printers and supplies from us, we will enable that. If you to sell the printers and supplies and buy services from us, we will enable that also. And any combination in between.”

The writer attended HP’s global partner conference as a guest of the company