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Large format printer market returns to pre-pandemic levels: IDC 

Latest data from the Worldwide Quarterly Industrial Printer Tracker shows market recovery from the COVID-19 crisis continued through Q1 2021, led by large format digital printers.

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"While shipments in some segments took a step backward after a very strong fourth quarter, the overall shipment numbers remained strong in Q1," said Tim Greene, research director, hardcopy solutions at the International Data Corporation (IDC). "Led by large format digital printers, total shipments grew by almost 2.5% compared to the fourth quarter of 2020."

Worldwide Industrial Segment Highlights for Q1 2021

The large format printer market returned to pre-pandemic levels with shipments growing more than 2% worldwide in Q1 2021. 

New direct-to-shape printer unit shipments increased nearly 5% in Q1 2021 compared to Q4 2020. 

Direct-to-garment printer shipments increased 3.5% in Q1 2021 compared to Q4 2020. 

Label & Packaging printer shipments were down 7% in Q1 2021 after 17% growth in Q4 2020. 

Industrial Textile printer shipments declined 2% in Q1 2021 compared to Q4 2020.

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Regional Analysis

  • After a strong Q4 2020, printer shipments in the EMEA region declined nearly 4% in Q1 2021. 
  • North America Industrial printer shipments increased 7.5% in Q1 2021 compared to Q4 2020, indicating further recovery after shipments grew 7.3% in Q4 2020. 
  • Shipments in Japan showed the most aggressive recovery, growing more than 17% compared to Q4 2020. 
  • Shipments in China have continued to expand since Q1 2020. 

Outlook for 2021

Some of the shipment growth is being driven by aggressive hardware price promotions, which explains why shipments are growing at a modest 2.4% but shipment value declined by 4%, Greene says.

“Many vendors postponed introducing new printer models and technologies during the pandemic. Some of those new models have recently started to reach the market with more expected through the second half of 2021. Some of these introductions represent important technology evolutions that should drive investments in industrial printing equipment.”

IDC Tracker products provide market size, vendor share, and forecasts for hundreds of technology markets from more than 100 countries around the globe.