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Fri 17 Oct 2008 04:00 AM

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Moving forward

Francois Feuillet, general manager, Lexmark International Middle East talks about the market growth in the region and how MFPs are becoming more popular.

Francois Feuillet, general manager, Lexmark International Middle East talks about the market growth in the region and how MFPs are becoming more popular.

How do you expect the printer market to change in this region?

The Middle East market is growing faster than most of EMEA countries in terms of the number of units sold. The switch to a more high-end range of products and more sophisticated technologies is happening now, even if low-range products still represent the majority of printing products.

The Average Unit Price, which should rise as more high-end products hit shelves, is not significantly increasing, because of an ongoing price war between low-end products.

What kinds of printers are becoming more popular?

The current trend is a move away from single-function devices to multifunction devices (MFDs). Customers want multifunction devices that will support not only print but copy, scan and fax.

The number of colour MFDs is also increasing against mono, but mono does currently account for the majority of units sold. In parallel to this, we also see a growing demand for wireless printers both on inkjet and laser technologies, as people are working mobile they need to have the freedom of printing mobile as well.

Colour Lasers, because the acquisition cost as well as running costs have considerably decreased in the past years. Multifunction devices as an increasing number of users and businesses understand the advantage of consolidating several devices into one.

Are printer technologies going to change much?

The main technologies, laser, inkjet and dot matrix won't change as such. What will change is the standardisation of value-added solutions. It started from the transformation of printers to multifunctions and it will evolve thanks to adding Wi-Fi, RFID security, data flow management capacities as standard offers alongside basic models that are highly technical in term of printing abilities, but not loaded with any of those solutions for entry-level demands.

What about green technologies?

Sustainable development, including environmental policies, have become key areas of focus in the past few years. This is all the more true for companies in the IT field where technology is involved and products are being put on the market.In Western Europe, companies have to comply with more and more regulations issued by the European Union relating to issues including energy consumption, carbon emissions, waste management and recycling, among other things.

On top of this, customers are becoming more environmental conscious and they include the Green technology aspect when choosing their suppliers and products. We have seen an increasing number of tenders which, for example, include factors like environmental compliance.

• Lexmark works diligently to develop and implement industry-leading environmental practices that relate not only to our products, but to everything we do, everywhere in the world. We focus these efforts through the Lexmark Environmental Program, which has three main areas of concentration:

• The way we design our products

• The way we manage resources

• The way we live and work

What should consumers focus on when buying any kind of printer device?

First of all, they should make sure they have a good understanding of their own needs (how much printing will they do, do they need photo printing, do they need faxing?) in order to buy the device that will deliver what they are expecting.

With respect to the product itself, the key items consumers should check are the value (price vs. performance), the cost of ownership, and the type and length of warranty offered.

When choosing their device, they should make sure they get value for money and not go straight for cheap price. When using the printer, users should buy high yield cartridges if they print every day, it will decrease the cost per page.

What strategy are you focusing on at the moment?

Our strategy ‘customers for life" and "print less" define our focus. We are targeting each market segment, SOHO, SMB and corporate with specific solutions and products through specific channels and adapted programs that give them the maximum comfort to their printing needs while developing the approach to printing less paper while becoming more efficient.

Lexmark is a highly visible challenger in the Middle East market.  Our decision to have a physical presence in the local market has enhanced our visibility and has positioned us for substantial growth for the future.

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