China’s Ink Jet Cartridge Market: The Aftermarket Advantage

Ink jet printers and MFPs offer a compelling combination of low price and high-quality color capability, making ink jet the dominant printing technology used worldwide. In emerging markets such as China, ink jets are especially popular. Chinese ink jet hardware and supplies revenue is expected to climb from $2.4 billion in 2004 to $4.7 billion in 2008 (see figure), a 20 percent CAGR. Over that forecast period, revenue from sales of ink jet media in China will grow at a 23 percent CAGR, and ink cartridge revenue will grow at a CAGR of 21 percent. Chinese ink jet hardware revenue will increase at a 12 percent CAGR. Therefore, as in most other world regions, Chinese ink jet hardware represents a solid business opportunity for vendors, but ink jet supplies represent an even greater opportunity. Looking at this data in percentage terms shows that ink jet supplies accounted for 67 percent of the revenue opportunity in China in 2004 but will account for 74 percent of the opportunity in 2008.

Aftermarket players in China’s ink jet cartridge market have a distinct advantage over aftermarket vendors in more developed regions of the world. In addition to being relatively immature, the Chinese ink jet cartridge market is unique in that many aftermarket players are already well established in China as export companies. Now these vendors are positioned to take advantage of the domestic ink jet printer market as it grows by offering reliable cartridges at lower prices than those of the printer OEMs. In contrast, in more developed regions, the aftermarket industry did not begin to aggressively market alternatives to OEM ink cartridges until after the printer OEMs had already gained significant mind share with customers.

This information is derived from China Ink Jet Hardware, Media, and Ink Demand Forecast and Analysis, a new report in Lyra’s China MarketWatch Report Series.

It is no surprise that printer and supplies vendors want to cash in on the booming Chinese economy. Over the last three years, China’s economy—the second largest in the world—has expanded by more than 8 percent. But how can printer and supplies vendors penetrate China effectively? The first step is to revisit one of the primary tenets of selling: Know thy customer, in this case the Chinese consumer or business buyer. A key question for vendors looking to sell hard copy hardware and supplies in China is, What are Chinese consumers’ and business users’ printing habits? More specifically, how do Chinese users print differently from users in more developed regions? Rely on Lyra to provide the key information you need to attack this burgeoning market.