What a year! Ricoh sells most of their SMB accounts to dealers (not including education, legal and production) and proves that they are dedicated to their dealers.
Toshiba might has probably staved off from selling the kitchen sink with the sale of their chip unit to a consortium that is led by Bain Capital.
Epson delivers two color A3 ink MFP's with speeds of 75 & 100 pages per minute. Proving that disruption of our coveted A3 toner based is well underway.
Last years Top Ten MFP Copier Industry Predictions for 2017, had some prognostications come to fruition. However, most of the predictions did not pan out, because many of them are intended to be entertaining or a "what might happen scenario". I enjoy writing these and please keep in mind that these predictions are intended to be more entertaining than factual. But, you never know what tomorrow will bring.
1. With recent Canon dealers crying foul about Canon Direct low balling Canon Dealer accounts. I'm going out on a limb and predicting Canon will soon follow Ricoh US with the sale of SMB accounts to their dealers.
2. Color Wide Format is here with a vengeance, and I'm not referring to the CAD ink wide format systems. We're talking industrial color ink wide format systems from the likes of EFI, Mimaki, and Oki to name a few. Dealers are still in need of additional revenue streams and Industrial Color Wide Format consumables are huge!
3. With the recent KonicaMinolta acquisition of Muratec America. KonicaMinolta offers their C71cf label press which comes with a hefty price tag. A recent GAP Intelligence blog stated that the label business only has a digitization rate of four percent. The addition of Muratec America label presses will provide dealers access to this lucrative market. I expect 2018 to be a huge year for KonicaMinolta & Muratec America in the Label Industry.
4. Look for the Mega Dealers to now turn their acquisition attention to cyber security companies. Current forecasts project cyber security to top $221 Billion US by 2022.
5. Consolidation in a mature market will continue. Merger is the name of the game, and it could come from the likes of Ricoh, Canon, Kyocera or KonicaMinolta. Konica and Minolta merged many years ago, and maybe it's time for another merger.
6. Toshiba emerges from ashes of financial ruin, sells off Toshiba Tec to Okidata and continues it's focus in mini-nuclear reactors.
7. In an effort to continue "moving boxes" and a fear of FOMO, one of the major copier companies will start offer their devices through Amazon.
8. One of the Big Four Copier Manufacturers (Canon, KonicaMinolta, Xerox or Ricoh) will cease to offer black/monochrome MFP's for the office. Color is the name of the game!
9. HP will cut many Samsung Dealers and those that they don't cut will part ways with HP on their own.
10. Keywords for 2018; Cyber Security, AI, Blockchain, FOMO (Fear of Missing out)
There it is, my predictions for 2018! Remember to have fun with this, maybe even think up a few of your own and post them in the reply section.