By emptying offices, coronavirus has hastened the paperless office

Analyst predicts seven-football-fields-per-minute printing plunge

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Analyst firm IDC says the printer industry has been kicked right in the COVIDs.

The firm yesterday predicted “page volume will fall 13.7 percent in 2020, from 3.2 trillion pages in 2019 to 2.8 trillion pages in 2020”. Damage will be lasting: between 2015 and 2019 compound annual growth rate for pages printed was -1.2 percent. From 2020 to 2024 that’ll hit -4.8 percent.

That will still leave the planet printing plenty in the office and at home. IDC helpfully enumerated the situation by using the Reg Standards Bureau practice of measuring area by the football field.

"The dramatic and sudden transition to work from home in many of the world's largest economies had a direct impact on office device print volumes," said Ilona Stankeova, IDC Europe’s senior research director for Imaging Devices and Document Solutions. "More than six million pages were printed every minute globally in 2019. This amount covers the area of 54 football pitches. COVID-19 is expected to remove print volume that would fill the area of seven football fields every minute in 2020."

At this point some readers may be about to pull out the world’s tiniest violin and play a very brief lament for all the vastly-overpriced ink and toner that printer vendors won’t sell as a result of that decline. Which may be futile as printer-makers have started to realise they can’t bleed us all on that forever and will instead revive the ancient art of making a profit on hardware. ®

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