InfoSource research shows East Africa print market demonstrates strong potential

Growing demand for production and office printer equipment sales and services, as well as numerous other factors specific to the region, demonstrate the need for reliable information to drive vendor, distributor and reseller strategies in the region.

“The key players need quality information that helps them find the right partners, support the right equipment, and develop the right set of skills to support the dominant markets in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and their neighbours,” says Chris de Beer, Africa regional manager at InfoSource.

He says regional factors are overall positive and indicate enormous potential for print vendors and their partners. East Africa’s dominant markets have experienced robust economic growth in the past year but several other more local influences should also factor into the overall equation of how print vendors choose to operate in the region.

InfoSource continued to place its own data gathering resources in the three major East Africa economies as part of its 1,400 global interviews with pivotal market participants in 2017.

“Our local investigations over the past few years continued to divulge several revealing insights about various aspects of the sector in East Africa,” says De Beer. “The corruption clampdown in Kenya, for example, has impacted the industry there in several ways, including slowing the pace at which government tenders are awarded. The majority of the copier/MFP market is largely based on dropping boxes across East Africa, while in Uganda growth is generally phenomenal, albeit off a low base.”

He adds that local factors also pushed one of the resellers out of providing printers to instead offering ATM cash dispensers and sorters. Another now supplies solar energy solutions in addition to printers.

A peculiarity is that colour production equipment has proven more popular than mono black and white in Kenya, bucking the trend in Southern Africa and the rest of the world. Black and white copier/MFP unit sales in Uganda also increased significantly last year over the previous year, while the absolute numbers declined marginally for Tanzania, and Kenya remained much the same.

“Few vendors are directly represented in Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda,” says De Beer. “Market growth therefore signals that exceptional partnerships with the right companies mark a significant advantage over rivals.”

All three production markets combined are smaller than Southern Africa but show strong growth and copier/MFP demand remains robust.

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