Low prices and the overall value proposition presented by all-in-one printers are quickly making these products a consumer favorite.
The research firm Gartner Dataquest, San Jose, Calif., said the popularity of all-in-one devices, which usually combine inkjet printing, scanning, copying and fax capabilities into one chassis, are well on their way to outstripping sales of stand-alone printers and scanners. Gartner anticipates all-in-one printers to surpass inkjet printers in sales by 2006, said analyst David Haueter.
"In 1999 stand-alone inkjet sales comprised 91 percent of the market and all-in-ones had 8.3 percent. In 2002 the all-in-one share jumped to 27.5 percent and inkjet fell to 71 percent," he said.
This trend is not going to slow. Gartner expects all-in-one sales to almost double in 2003 with about 8 million units shipping, Haueter said, compared to the 4.3 million shipped in 2002.
Industry watchers said sales for all in one model's, also known as multifunction printers (MFPs) in some circles, took off when prices fell below $200.
"We have certainly seen the decrease in price and better performance pushing sales. But it used to be that these only did a few things well like faxing and copying, but now with flatbed scanning and better printing they do several things well," said Andreas Goehring, Epson's senior product manager.
This category is so hot that Epson will substantially increase the number of all-in-one product into the market, said Goehring.
All-in-one device sales are being driven primarily by basic models offering printing, scanning and copying functionality, Haueter said, but those with extra features are gathering a lot of attention.
"A memory-card reader is really an important factor because of the increase in digital camera use," he said.
Goerhing agreed, saying the more discriminating customer is interested in the fax-equipped models, but added the units that have truly popularized the all-in-one products are those without fax machines.
The impact the all-in-ones have had on the stand-alone scanner market have not been as severe, Goerhing said, except at the lower price points where customers are choosing all-in-one products over the scanners.
Another factor is stand-alone scanners tend to offer higher resolutions than those included in an all-in-one. However, Haueter said this is likely to change in the near future.