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InfoTrends Study: Workgroup A4 MFPs Now Growing, Cutting into Role of A3 Convenience Copiers and MFPs

(Weymouth, MA) June 5, 2007… A new study from InfoTrends reveals that the growing success of the workgroup A4 MFPs (multi-function peripherals capable of 8.5” x 11” output) is challenging the traditional business built around A3 equipment (copiers and MFPs capable of 11” x 17” output). The study indicates that workgroup A4 MFPs—shared devices mostly in the 31 to 69 PPM speed range—are increasing their role in the mix of equipment at many U.S. companies that have long relied on A3 copiers and MFPs. The study also shows that these companies are replacing convenience copy and print pages from A3-size equipment with output from the newer, smaller A4-size MFPs, and that some are even replacing A3 equipment with the smaller format A4 MFPs.

“We believe that the role of workgroup A4 MFPs will grow strongly, pulling A4/letter size pages away from A3 copiers and MFPs, thereby weakening the demand for these larger devices,” commented Bob Leahey, an Associate Director at InfoTrends. “A3 devices will remain vital in the U.S., but the push by major suppliers of workgroup A4 alternatives is having an effect on decision-making regarding office equipment purchases at U.S. companies. Because of this impact and other factors, A3-format technology will represent a declining share of the installed base of U.S. office equipment over the next several years.”

Research for InfoTrends’ new study, Is The Workgroup Copier Business Model at Risk? The A4 vs. A3 Tipping Point, includes a survey of 1,160 companies in the U.S., 10 interviews with copier dealers, and 11 interviews with equipment OEMs or major national vendors. The research also includes extensive analysis of 2006 shipment data and forecasts for shipments, revenues, installed bases, and supplies consumption.

Figure 1: Nature of Workgroup A4 MFP Purchase

The A4 vs. A3 Tipping Point helps manufacturers and distributors of office copying and printing equipment understand the emerging role of the sales of workgroup A4 MFPs in the U.S. market, particularly in relation to A3-size copiers and MFPs. The study also assesses the outlook for the different business models associated with A3- and A4-size output devices. Finally, the report provides a dedicated market estimate and forecast for A4 and A3 MFPs and their associated supplies in the U.S. from 2006 to 2010, as well as a series of recommendations for market participants based on the study’s key findings.

Key findings from the study include the following:

  • 34% of survey respondents indicated that their companies had bought A4 MFPs for workgroup use over the past 18 months. The two vertical industries claiming the highest ownership of these devices were financial services and manufacturing.
  • A4-size workgroup MFP shipments accounted for 18% of the 372,000 total multifunctional units that shipped in 2006 in the 31 to 69 ppm speed range; in 2010, that share is expected to grow to about 27%.
  • Color document output is a growth area for A3 as well as A4 MFPs. For traditional copier vendors, the A3 color market will remain healthy, as it will be driven by a growing need for fast-turnaround and in-house production of color marketing collateral, AEC drawings, and other print output in that format.
  • Corporate policies increasingly favor workgroup A4 MFPs over traditional copiers. 21% of survey respondents stated that their companies have policies in place to replace black & white console copiers with shared printers or MFPs; another 9% reported that their companies plan to implement such policies.
  • Among companies that have acquired workgroup A4 MFPs, 40% stated that the purchases were replacing equipment, and of those, 60% indicated that the equipment replaced could copy or print up to A3 size paper.

“The displacement of A3 copiers and MFPs is pervasive yet subtle, but it’s real. Workgroup A4 MFPs are cropping up at companies of all sizes, cutting into the output volumes of A3-format equipment, and even displacing A3 copiers,” commented Leahey. “A3 copier and MFP manufacturers need to recognize this change now as workgroup A4 MFPs become more influential in this competitive market.”

The recently completed study is available now for purchase. For more information about the study or to make a purchase, please contact Alison Hipp at +1 781 616 2100 ext. 126 or

InfoTrends, a Questex company, is the leading worldwide market research and strategic consulting firm for the digital imaging and document solutions industry. We provide research, analysis, forecasts, and advice to help clients understand market trends, identify opportunities, and develop strategies to grow their businesses. Additional information about InfoTrends is available on the Web at

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