The Middle East consumer electronics market is expected to record a rapid increase in demand for Multi-Function Devices (MFD) during 2006, driving the growth of the computer product manufacturing industry and bringing regional consumers the benefits of better-designed, feature-packed and more affordable models of Multi-Function products.
Khalil El-Dalu, General Manager, Epson Middle East said: “Multi-Function Devices are becoming common placements in homes and offices. We expect demand for Epson’s MFDs to grow by 25 per cent this year. The market is already witnessing a trend where Single Function Devices (SFD) are making way for affordable, feature-packed MFDs. Multi-Function Devices accounted for 44 per cent of Epson’s total inkjet unit shipments in fiscal 2005, which we expect to rise to 50 per cent in 2006.”
Multi-Function Devices are basically printers that come with built-in scanners and fax modems, and double as copiers and fax machines. Consumers prefer MFDs as these offer a cost-effective solution with a single machine requiring one set of consumables as against investing in several machines that need different sets of consumables. These devices occupy far less space than that required to accommodate several SFDs and are therefore ideally suited for modern, small offices and homes where space is a major constraint.
Booming consumer sales and a growing awareness of the advantages they offer have elevated MFDs from a niche market to mainstream technology. Multi-Function Devices now come with a range of capabilities, offering printer or photocopier technology, inkjet or laser models, black and white or colour models, business colour functionality and high-end graphics colour.
Higher unit shipments of Multi-Function Printers benefited Epson’s revenues during 2005-2006. This trend is expected to continue during fiscal 2006. The company predicts a steady expansion of the inkjet printer market, with demand projected to shift away from Single-Function Printers and toward Multi-Function Printers and photo printers. Epson also expects sales of low-priced colour models in the laser printer market to grow, especially in overseas markets during the year.
The past months have seen Epson successfully launching its range of stylishly designed feature-packed MFDs incorporating innovative technologies - Stylus Photo RX700, Stylus Photo RX520, Stylus CX 3700, Stylus CX 4700 and Stylus CX 4100 - in the Middle East.
Considered one of the best in the series, the Stylus Photo RX 700 model offers serious photo enthusiasts top quality photo printing, scanning, copying and archiving functionality. Incorporating features such as Photo Fine preview display, CD face printing and Photo Enhance retouching technology, the Stylus Photo RX 700 comes in a distinctive design that won it the iF Product Design Award.
Similarly, the easy-to-use Stylus Photo RX520 features Micro Piezo technology, allowing users to make high quality prints directly from popular memory cards, PictBridge and USB Direct-Print digital cameras and to copy, enlarge, retouch photos in a single step.
Targeting the home and Small and Medium Business segment, the Stylus CX 4700 and Stylus CX 3700 models use Epson’s flexible DURABrite Ultra ink and offer highly durable, laser-like prints alongside scanning and copying capabilities. While the Stylus CX 4700 comes with memory card slots and PictBridge compatibility, the Stylus CX3700 is a more cost-effective but stylishly packaged model. The Stylus CX4100 is a high-performing versatile solution featuring BorderFree printing technology.
Recent figures by analysts show that the demand for MFDs is growing at a fast clip. IDC points out that inkjet MFDs are expected to grow at a CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of around 82 per cent between 2004 and 2006, while laser MFDs will grow at a CAGR of around 40 per cent during the same period. The home-user segment, along with the entry-level commercial market within inkjet MFDs, is expected to provide the biggest growth opportunity.
“Multi-Function Devices offer total value for money by integrating more functions in a single product. Epson’s Stylus Photo range of MFDs has gone down well among quality-conscious photo enthusiasts and professionals in the Middle East. We expect this trend, coupled with the growth of multimedia applications, to intensify in the months ahead, pushing up demand for MFDs,” El-Dalu pointed out.
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