Point of Sale printers in European market up 1,2% despite economic slowdown

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According to IC Consultings latest report on the POS (point-of-sale) printers in Europe, in 2008 the market increased 1,2% in terms of quantity and felt down a -1,3% in terms of value. It differs by region, a small growth of 0,1% points is registered in Western Europe (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Benelux, Nordic) in 2008, while market in Eastern Europe registered a growth of 10,2% in terms of quantity.

The POS printers market, in the current economic slowdown, keeps developing, in parallel with the POS market. Advances in technology, lower prices, and a strong modernisation have been some of the factors that have fuelled these markets in the last years. In 2007 the market increased 8,0% and 8,6%  in terms of value and quantity. However, global economic crisis in 2008 has affected POS printers market as well, which has slightly held back.

The market for POS printers in Europe was showing an annual upward trend over 6% in the last years despite being a mature market in most of the key regions (UK, Germany, France). However, this development did not last further than 2008, when the market felt down to 1,2% positive growth in terms of quantity and  decreased 1,3% in terms of value. It differs by region, a small growth of 0,1% points is registered in Western in 2008, while market in Eastern Europe registered a growth of 10,2% in terms of quantity.

The European market is expected to account for almost 194 million euros in 2008 in terms of value.

In terms of product group, one Station POS printers market is the biggest product group and one of the fastest growing markets. This product group covered 86,6% of the total units of POS printers sold in 2008 and is expected to cover  87,8% in 2009. In terms of value, two station printers covers 17,8% of the total. More expensive Mobile printers, cover 2,3% of the market in terms of value.

In the last three years, a technology shift from DOT matrix printers to thermal and hybrid printers has happened at increasing pace. In this context, DOT matrix printers sales have decreased 4,3% in 2008 in terms of quantity and are expected to decrease  12,2% in 2009, loosing market share in the years to come. Hence, thermal printers (including mobile) have increased 3,2% in 2008 and will increase 9,0% in 2009 driven by replacements in retail and hospitality.

The time interval of replacement of POS printers (which are usually replaced simultaneously to POS replacement) varies between five and ten years approximately (mainly depending on the size of the company). A stronger increase in market volume from 2006 was expected to occur after the last important injection for retail POS equipment just before the introduction of the Euro currency. However the tough economic situation is retarding the investments in the retail sector and this effect is going to be noticed not before 2010. Indeed, in June 2008, European retail sales experienced their biggest drop in at least 13 years as oil and food costs left consumers with less money to spend on other goods.

The biggest retail chains are expanding faster in Eastern European Countries than in Western European countries. Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic and Romania are widening and modernizing their retail markets, which includes shops automation and a increase of POS demand in these countries. The retail industry in these countries for the past years has been ongoing a drastic transformation and modernization which has positively impacted the POS market in general.

On the competition side, EPSON should maintain its leading position in terms of value and quantity. In Eastern European Countries and Italy, due to special features of POS printers required by fiscal laws, the picture regarding competition is slightly different. Local companies focused in fiscal printers and devices are finding a position within the leaders.

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