For the first time ever, Asia-Pacific trumped both the Americas as well as EMEA as the region accounting for the largest revenue share in 2013. VDC sees this as a direct reflection of the pickup in the Chinese manufacturing sector in the past 12 months, a result of its government’s diligent efforts to tackle slowing growth in the world’s second largest economy. Growing reliance on logistics service providers to get products to the final consumer on time coupled with their rising need for automation will also help spur continued investments in the near future. Industrial printer sales contracted 5% year-over-year in North America because of users’ increasing investments in lower cost desktop options that are well-suited for deployment across several application environments. One of the industry leaders was particularly impacted by this trend, leading to a significant drop in sales in the region. The European market looks set to come out of its slump of the past few years with the region experiencing a high single digit growth over 2012 backed by a stronger than expected economic revival.
In terms of market penetration, VDC expects enterprises competing in and servicing the transportation sector to drive barcode printer investments, with the vertical’s growing focus on automation and utilizing data capture solutions for everything from packaging to last mile delivery. Healthcare continues to be an attractive vertical, particularly in North America. Label printer adoption and use will rise considerably in this market given how there now are more patients, assets, and drugs that require labeling, via product tags, wristbands, and inventory labels. VDC does not expect this market to reach critical mass anytime soon, especially given how digitization – of records, patients, inventory – is a recent trend born out of evolving government regulations and mandates.
While we do not anticipate growth rates to scale new highs in North America and Europe, there is much for vendors to capitalize on in terms of regional and vertical market opportunities.