Western European Scanner Revenues to Top $1 Billion in 1999, IDC Says

LONDON, November 2, 1999 – In 1998 more than 4 million scanners shipped in Western Europe, accounting for 30% of the worldwide total and over 60% growth on the previous year. In 1999, International Data Corporation (IDC) expects this to increase to almost 6 million, equating to an annual growth rate of over 40%. Revenues for the Western European market amounted to $921 million in 1998 and are expected to top $1 billion for 1999 as vendors focus more on selling profitable products than on obtaining shipment leadership.

"The vertiginous growth in shipments was fueled by a price war in the flatbed scanner segment during the third quarter of 1998, when the average street value fell almost 40%," said Mick Heys, Expertise Centre manager of IDC's European Printers and Digital Image Peripherals research program. Faced with an influx of Taiwanese flatbed scanners, vendors resorted to competing on price, with the ASV dropping to as low as $100. In addition, marketing incentives such as rebates led to further decreases, with scanners being sold for as low as $20 in some cases, making the scanner a commodity product in the home market.

As scanners have begun to penetrate the non-professional consumer segment, the technology has been enhanced to make it more user-friendly. Vendors have simplified the set up and have added features such as self-compressing image manipulation, optical character recognition (OCR), and multifunction buttons, permitting users to email, fax, or copy what they have scanned in direct from the scanner. "Scanner simplification and multifunction buttons will continue to be featured in scanner announcements this year and will be the key innovation in securing a place for the scanner within both homes and offices," Heys said.

Also supporting scanner growth is the ability to transfer images from a scanner to a processing system. The development and incorporation of new interface technologies, such as universal serial buses (USBs) that started to appear in scanners in mid-1998, will bring several advantages to the user. First, USB-based scanners are much simpler to install than those using parallel port technology. Second, the data-transfer rate is much faster. "A USB-based scanner with Windows 98 provides a true plug-and-play environment, typifying the ease of use that this technology brings to the market," Heys said. IDC expects most vendors to offer USB-based products by the end of this year; these products are likely to filter through to the consumer scanner market.

Western European Scanner Market Review and Forecast, 1997-2003 (IDC #KP10F) provides a high-level view of the worldwide and Western European scanner markets. It reviews related issues, trends, and product innovations as well as actual data for 1997 and 1998 and forecast data for 1999 to 2003. Country-level data is provided for flatbed scanners covering the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, and the rest of Western Europe. This report is available to purchase from your local IDC office.

About IDC

IDC delivers dependable, relevant, and high-impact data and insight on information technology to help organizations make sound business and technology decisions. IDC forecasts worldwide IT markets and technology trends and analyzes IT products and vendors, using a combination of rigorous primary research and in-depth competitive analysis. IDC is committed to providing global research with local content through more than 500 analysts in 42 countries worldwide. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

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