Epson State of the Market Survey reveals soaring print costs as flexible and hybrid work environments pose new challenges for IT managers and the sustainability agenda
A new business survey commissioned by Epson shows an estimated 89% of IT decision makers have seen an increase in print costs over the last 12-18 months, despite almost half (45%) reporting a decrease in print volumes.
Driven by the explosive growth of hybrid working, IT managers witnessed a proliferation of printers introduced to organisations as employees self-sourced to support home working (according to 53% of respondents). As a result, the need to manage the volume of different printer brands introduced is now viewed as a key pressure by over a third (37%) of IT leaders. Others saw employees spend significant amounts of money on cartridges as a result of buying ‘off-the-shelf’ printers designed for home use (70%) and not distinguishing between business and personal print, for which organisations bore the cost (71%).
At the same time, over a third of respondents (38%) report printers being under great stress at key times when stored printing was being executed as people came into the office, with 64% stating that they had seen employees working extra hours due to printer downtime (lack of serviceability).
These experiences have led to almost two thirds (63%) now claiming they will make significant changes to how print should be managed in the future, with more than half (52%) citing a need to reduce printer maintenance needs, and (39%) stating a need to reduce costs while also focusing on meeting environmental targets.
A major tension revealed by respondents was the difficultly in prioritising sustainability concerns alongside managing new challenges caused by the sudden transition to hybrid working environments.
While 73% claim they’re now seeing a focus on sustainability considerations when looking to invest in printers, many are still unaware that inkjet technology offers a greater sustainable advantage than laser, and although 57% acknowledge that CO 2emission savings could be made by changing the type of printers in use, only 43% are considering heat-free solutions.
Keeping control of printer hardware during remote working was cited as a key pressure by 75% of respondents, with 63% admitting that IT is losing control of the print fleet.
Regaining this control will be a major step towards redressing both cost and sustainability issues. When asked, 73% say that management and control of the printer fleet is a specific part of their environmental and sustainability policy, so seeking further clarity on sustainable printing solutions could be a quick way to address this challenge. Epson’s Heat-free technology – available in models suitable for both the small / home office and the large corporate environment — and are proven to reduce energy use and CO 2emissions by up to 83% compared to laser printers 1.
Gareth Jay, Epson Europe, commented: “IT leaders have faced unprecedented pressure over the last few years with teams very stretched in terms of time and resource, as they’ve grappled with adapting IT and printing needs to meet a new world of work.
“Some of our survey’s findings expose how far we still need to educate on the range of benefits offered by our of heat-free business inkjets that can help support the challenges identified — whether it’s saving time and money, using less energy and emitting less CO2, requiring less intervention, or using fewer consumables than lasers.
“But there’s hope and opportunity in these findings too. Many respondents are now looking at how to mitigate future disruptions and become more resilient. There’s opportunity to invest in new print technologies and seek added capability from existing print fleets. Adapting to better support workforces needn’t be a headache, could deliver significant efficiency and productivity gains, and help companies get back on track with sustainability goals.”
The Epson State of the Market Survey, conducted by the independent research firm Coleman Parkes, polled 3,000 IT decision makers from across 30 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Key survey findings include:
Changes in printing due to the pandemic and the impact of hybrid working:
- Escalating costs: The vast majorityof organisations (89%) saw an increase in their print costs over the last 12 – 18 months, with an average increase of 14%.
- Loss of control:Keeping control of printer hardware during remote working was identified as the number one pressure, with only 42% saying they – to some degree – had the right level of control over the decision on printer purchases and management. While the vast majority of organisations (93%) imposed some form of restrictions on which printers employees could purchase for home working during the pandemic and most (76%) introducing new guidelines, 42% admit that adherence was limited. Main concerns around home printing include security, being accountable for assets outside the office environment and receiving maintenance requests for products bought individually by employees.
- Emergence of hybrid habits:Printing behaviour itself is also changing. There is an increased focus on only printing important documents and printers being under great stress at key times when stored printing was executed as people came into the offices. Almost half (44%) believe they will move to more centralised banks of printers inside the next two years as a result, while around two thirds (64%) of organisations are already running a centralised group of printers within the normal office/work environment. For around a quarter of organisations (23%), respondents believe there will be more devices available for fewer users. Forecasted workplace patterns vary; just over a third (36%) of respondents report that employees will be brought back into the workplace incrementally, and 27% report that a rotation system will be used.
- Increasing importance of print, with demand for speed and reliability:Half of respondents (49%) believe print and print technology will become more important to their organisation over the next 12 months. Following the pandemic, the majority (72%) of respondents report continuing to need greater reliability of printers, 61% believe that printing will remain important with regards to managing critical data, and 53% state they will need faster print speeds to meet demand.
- Sustainability goals at risk:A majority of respondents (69%) believe environmental and social impact considerations will become more important to their organisations in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic but half admitted sustainability has taken a back seat during the last 12-18 months. While 60% of respondents expect to see a drive to more sustainable printing as a result of hybrid working, almost two thirds (61%) believe that the proliferation of new printers to support home working means that they will not hit their sustainability goals.
- Energy usage is a key challenge: Although 95% of organisations monitor their printer fleet’s energy consumption, only 35% have a clear view. There is, however, a strong desire to improve understanding of savings that could be made by changing the way the print fleet is managed (66%) and by changing the types of printers in use (57%).
- Widespread misperceptions: While the survey exposed an education gap on the range of business benefits delivered by inkjet, respondents did identify them as easier to maintain, providing better quality of print, and being cheaper to run.
Notes to Editor
Methodology: The Epson State of the Market Survey
The survey of 3,000 respondents located across 30 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa was conducted by independent research firm Coleman Parks in January 2022. Respondents included IT decision makers, all from organisations with at least 340 employees across a range of sectors, including business and professional services, government departments, health care, education, retail, legal and financial services.
About Epson Heat-Free Business Inkjet
Epson Heat-Free Business Inkjet delivers a range of benefits for modern organisations, freeing up time and space, creating better working environments, reducing emissions and costs. Benefits:
- Less power consumption saves energy and money: Epson's Heat-Free Technology uses up to 83% less energy 1. As inkjets have no fuse unit to heat, this results in significantly less power consumption.
- Saves time with consistent high-speed printing: Heat-Free Technology requires no warmup when it is switched on or awoken from sleep. This means you can start printing immediately, making it up to 50% faster from ready compared to laser printers.
- Fewer replacement parts, lower environmental impact: Laser printers typically have more consumables and require periodic replacement of the drum, transfer belt and fuse in many cases. Thanks to Heat-Free Technology, our inkjet printers produce up to 96% fewer used consumables than laser printers.
- Less Intervention increases productivity: The Heat-Free structure of Epson inkjet printers means that there are fewer parts that can fail, which reduces the amount of intervention required.
Epson is a global technology leader dedicated to co-creating sustainability and enriching communities by leveraging its efficient, compact, and precision technologies and digital technologies to connect people, things, and information. The company is focused on solving societal issues through innovations in home and office printing, commercial and industrial printing, manufacturing, visual and lifestyle. Epson will become carbon negative and eliminate use of exhaustible underground resources such as oil and metal by 2050.
Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation, the worldwide Epson Group generates annual sales of around JPY 1 trillion.