MEA Consumables Market Continues to Grow but Faces Mounting Pressure from Parallel Imports

According to the latest insights from International Data Corporation (IDC), the Middle East and Africa (MEA) consumables market remained relatively flat in volume terms during H2 2013 but saw significant growth in value thanks to an ongoing shift from inkjet devices to laser technology and from black and white to color. Overall, the market grew just 0.6% year on year in unit terms, but revenue was up 7.2% over the same period.

The inkjet consumables segment suffered year-on-year declines of 2.1% in volume and 3.9% in value in H2 2013, and the downturn was seen across all key markets in the MEA region, with the exception of the UAE. The shrinking installed base of inkjet devices in the consumer segment is being driven by the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, which negate the need for home printing, while the decline in the enterprise segment is being caused by increasing migration to laser devices.

The picture is much brighter in the laser segment, where shipments of toner consumables were up 4.5% year on year in volume and an impressive 11.2% in value. Significant growth was reported across the region, thanks mainly to increased adoption of MFPs (particularly color devices), which had a positive impact on the page volumes seen within this segment.

While the MEA region is generally not impacted by compatible and counterfeit consumables to the extent seen in other regions around the world, anecdotal evidence gathered by IDC from the region's channel community suggests they are facing increasing competition within the market from parallel (or gray) imports. These consumables are original products that are sourced into the region through unofficial channels. Demand for such products is generally strong as they are cheaper than the same consumables sold through official distribution channels, and IDC believes that the challenge presented by such imports to vendors of OEM products will only intensify as the market continues to grow.

"The MEA consumables market offers attractive revenue opportunities for OEM vendors," says Ashwin Venkatchari, senior program manager for imaging, printing, and document solutions at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey. "Compatibles primarily maintain market share in the entry-level segment and therefore do not pose a serious threat to OEM vendors in the region (with the exception of Turkey). The OEM vendors have also done a commendable job in combating the scourge of counterfeit products. However, the most serious threat to growth in the MEA region is posed by parallel imports. As such, OEM vendors must come up with consistent and sustainable strategies to address this issue if they are to fully capitalize on the growth opportunities that this region has to offer."

IDC's semiannual 'Middle East and Africa Hardcopy Peripherals Consumables Tracker' delivers data and insights that help vendors identify growth opportunities, position products and brands, arm themselves against market threats, and anticipate long-term changes in the market. The MEA countries covered are Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. For more information, please contact Ashwin Venkatchari at