HP CEO: Printed pages are down 20% since pandemic

And customers are sweating their hardware assets for longer

Fewer and fewer pages are being printed at home and in the office, posing something of a challenge for HP and its rivals.

Talking at Bernstein's 40th Annual Strategic Decision Conference late last week, HP boss Enrique Lores acknowledged the pressures facing the print division, saying the number of printed pages has dropped by a fifth.

Man in tie smashes printer with baseball bat in a field.

HP customers claim firmware update rendered third-party ink verboten


"On the office space, clearly, the amount of pages that is being printed is lower than before the pandemic," he told tech investors. "And this is really driven by what we call hybrid work. There are less people in the office every day, and this has driven the amount of pages down.

"I use pages as a proxy because, depending on what happens with pages, happens eventually with devices. Before the pandemic, our estimates were that we were expecting to see a 20 percent reduction of printing. And actually, we were looking at the numbers ... and this is more or less where we are."

In terms of users printing at home, "during the pandemic, we saw a spike of pages printed, and since then, the number of pages has been declining," Lores added. The levels are not unexpected, though, he said.

The industrial customer base was "impacted during the last two or three years by a reduction of capital investments," but recovery is showing up, with those customers printing more labels and packaging.

Previous research by IDC showed around 450 billion fewer pages were printed in homes and office worldwide in 2020 versus the year before the pandemic, equating to a 19 percent plunge. It merely accelerated the long-term trend.

HP can't force customers to print more – the cost of doing so both financially and in terms of the environment are contributing factors. Yet over the past four and a half years the vendor has tried to maximize supplies revenue and therefore profits by pushing more customers into subscriptions and selling printers pre-loaded with ink.

The inescapable fact is that HP print hardware revenue has slumped for nine quarters in a row and this has a downstream impact on supplies sales, which have shrunk for four consecutive quarters.

Lores said HP estimates printer hardware sales will continue to decline by low to middle digits. This is not helped by customers sweating their assets for longer.

"Something we are starting to notice is, as hardware sales have been declining, also the life of printers is being extended. And we are trying to quantify exactly how much is this," he told the audience.

On the positive side for HP and its investor community, HP has spent time reducing work with less profitable customers, has a healthy share of the supplies market, and anticipates inflation in ink prices.

"One metric we have shared is the combination of HP+ big ink and big toner is about 50 percent of our shipments ... And we have been growing the number of subscribers and the amount of subscriptions that we offer, and we have now more than 13 million subscribers."

HP now has the three subscriptions: One to ink and toner, paper, and this year launched an all-in-one service that also includes the printer. ®

More about


Send us news

Other stories you might like