Hewlett-Packard shook up the entry-level laser printer market with the introduction earlier this month of the $250 LaserJet 1000, which should help the printer giant recapture some of the low-end market share it has lost.
The LaserJet 1000 is not the lowest priced laser printer available at stores, but it represents the first time HP has wandered below the $300 price level. This will put an inordinate amount of pressure on vendors that had thought themselves safe at this price range, said Peter Grant, a principal analyst with Gartner Dataquest, San Jose, Calif. Previously, HP's most inexpensive printer was the LaserJet 1210se priced at $399.
"This is a great move by HP. Just putting a printer here with their name on it makes competitors shiver," Grant said, "But they had to do something. Brother, Samsung and Lexmark started chipping away at HP's share."
The LaserJet 1000 is a 10-page per minute monochrome printer geared for the personal and SoHo market. It will compete directly with printers such as the Brother HL1440, Lexmark E210, Minolta QMS PagePro and the Samsung 1210, all of which sell for less than $300.
In the first half of 2001 HP commanded a 64 percent share of the entry-level laser market, which Dataquest defines as printers with less than 10 page per minute print speed. Lexmark was next with 25 percent followed by Samsung, Okidata and Brother with single digit chunks of share, Grant said. While HP still commands the segment it has lost almost 20 points of share to its competitors over the past two years, Grant said.
These inroads have steeled the other vendors to HP's presence.
Ray Roque, Samsung's vice president of marketing, digital information technology division, said he did not fear competing against HP. "We welcome the competition. In a way it is a validation of this market," he said. The main method of battling HP brand name recognition in a market segment that is price sensitive will be through feature packages, Roque said, adding that Samsung's 1210, street priced at $199, with a 12 page per minute print speed compares favorable with the LaserJet 1000.
This could be a decent strategy Grant said because many consumers are savvy enough to look past a brand name when making a purchase.