Tag Archives: Inkjet

Beyond “Paper or Plastic?” to “Refilled, Original or Compatible?”-MetaFacts TUPdate

Beyond “Paper or Plastic?” to “Refilled, Original or Compatible?”

A MetaFacts TUPdate by Dan Ness, Principal Analyst

Ink refill usage is substantial, especially among some leading-edge market segments.

There’s an old marketing adage about giving away the razor to make it up selling razor blades. In the PC printer business, printer ink pays a lot of the bills, yet is increasingly at risk.

In our most recent wave of Technology User Profile, American adults told us they continue to prefer original ink versus compatible or refilled cartridges. However, the ink loyalty rate varies by PC printer brand and market segment. One bellwether segment is decidedly using refills or sharing photos online.

We started this analysis by first looking at the answers from 8,175 U.S. respondents in the Technology User Profile service and then drilled down further into their profiles including factors such as their printer brand, type of ink used, years of PC experience, and age. We also compared usage from our prior waves, including results from our identical surveys across nine other countries.

In U.S. homes, original is strongest. Kodak & Lexmark have the highest ink loyalty, at 81% and 79%, respectively. Eight in ten adults who use these PC printer brands as their primary printer used an original ink cartridge by the same manufacturer as the printer.

Ink Type by Printer Brand

HP’s ink loyalty rate is not the strongest, with HP ranked third. HP is maintaining its strength: its ink loyalty rate at 73% is slightly up from 70% the prior year.

These high ink loyalty rates may be satisfactory enough for some printer manufacturers, yet as consumers change their printing behaviors, and even non-printing behaviors, these rates are likely to change as well.

Use of refilled ink is highest for Dell and Brother, both with 27% of adult printer users. Due to HP’s dominant market share, the number of users of refills for HP printers is almost equal to users of refills for all other brands combined.

The refilled market is broad and diverse, so unlikely to change overnight. It it served by a diverse group – spanning drug stores such as Walgreens, franchises like Cartridge World, to a small army of entrepreneurs and do-it-yourselfers with pliers and squeeze bottles.

Direct competition is strong, although compatible inks trail refills as the least-preferred option across most brands. Use of competitive compatible inks is highest for Epson and Brother, at 19% and 18%, respectively.

Compared with many other developed countries, the U.S. has some of the most ink-loyal consumers. Our prior wave of Technology User Profile across key countries revealed that ink loyalty rates are strongest in Japan and the US and weakest in Germany and the UK, and that use of refills is highest in South Korea and Germany.

Home Photo Printing – Ink & Options

Looking ahead, the ink business continues to face challenges both from within the printer and ink industry as well as from substitutes.

Printer manufacturers hoping to reclaim refill customers face an uphill battle beyond pricing, since a higher rate of refill users share photos online and a lower rate print photos. Adults who use refills have higher rates of using online photo-sharing services, sharing images across a social network, sharing on their own websites or blogs, and sharing folders online through a cloud storage service. They are an attractive segment, though, because when they print, they print at higher volumes.

To the extent that younger users are bellwether of future buyers, it’s important to note that younger adults use refills at a higher rate than older adults.

Looking further ahead, increased online collaboration is expected to continue the erosion of home-printing photos. Of the 70.9 million adults with a home printer which they don’t use to print photos, most of their sharing is done online. The greatest upside is likely to come from the broad general increase in images from user’s own smartphones, feature phones and cameras, as well as the many photos they receive online from friends and others.


The results in this TUPdate are drawn from the MetaFacts Technology User Profile Survey. Results specific to this topic can be obtained through a customized report and analysis. Or contact MetaFacts for the MetaFacts Technology User Profile Overview Edition report, which covers the broader range of key trends. View findings in 25 pages of executive summary analysis, 200+ pages of charts and graphs, all supported by 95+ pages of detailed tables. The complete, 300+ page report is delivered to you electronically. This edition is for the U.S. based on the 2010 wave of Technology User Profile gathered among a scrupulously selected set of representative respondents, surveyed both online and offline.

To see other research coverage of Internet products and activities – from smartphones to feature phones, desktops to notebooks, social networking, demographics, and attitudes – see the many other questions TUP answers on www.technologyuser.com. Tech market research professionals who want a solid resource they can use immediately after industry events such as mergers, or even use prior to anticipated events, can license direct access to TUP.

About TUPdates

MetaFacts releases ongoing research on the market shifts and profiles for Smartphones, Netbooks, Mobile PCs, Workplace PCs, Home PCs, Web Creators, Broadband, and many other technology industry trends and facts. These TUPdates are short analytical articles in a series of specific topics utilizing the Technology User Profile Annual Edition study, which reveals the changing patterns of technology adoption around the world. Interested technology professionals can sign up at http://technologyuser.com/contact/ for complimentary TUPdates – periodic snapshots of technology markets.

About MetaFacts

MetaFacts, Inc. is a market research firm focusing exclusively on the technology industries. MetaFacts’ Technology User Profile (TUP) survey is the longest-running, large-scale comprehensive study of its kind, conducted continuously since 1983, the year before Apple released the Apple Macintosh. The detailed results are a primary market sizing and segmentation resource for leading companies providing consumer-oriented technology products and services, such as PCs, printers, software applications, peripherals, consumer electronics, mobile computing, and related services and products. TUP analyzes key trends and the data-rich source can be dived into more deeply for custom analysis. For more information about the syndicated research service, analysis tools, publications and datasets, contact MetaFacts at 1-760-635-4300.

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Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, Technology User Overview Report, TUP 2010, TUPdate

Buying Behavior – solid market research from MetaFacts Technology User Profile

Extensive information about buying behavior is available in TUP – Technology User Profile.

The retail adage: “buyers vote with their feet” is a reflection of old thinking, just as “new buyers vote with their mouse clicks” shows the same partial thinking. Up-to-date technology marketers and researchers know well how important it is to understand the full view of buyers. Consumers are influenced by many screens – and only having one view misses out on the true picture. After all, buyers have many choices and demonstrate time and time again their willingness to change.

Consumers have expanded, contracted, sidestepped, and evolved their buying behaviors. Retail has defied the proclamations of its doom and yet is not what it used to be. As tech buyers continue to change their tastes and preferences, they have tried many different types of channels. The changes are far from over.

Below are a few examples of questions addressed in TUP related to buying behavior. The full TUP service enables drilling down beyond the answers to these questions to identify which other technologies, services and behaviors are disruptive and to profile which market segments are and aren’t adopting. TUP is much more than a one-dimensional market view or opinion piece.

  • Online shoppers – are they everyone, or unique?
  • How do consumer attitudes about purchasing technology differ between Apple, Hewlett Packard and Dell customers?
  • Who are the people who shop for technology products on the web, but purchase at a local retail outlet?
  • Channels – best of breed or all-in-one?
  • What channels do people use for buying PCs? How about printers and printer supplies?
  • How prominent is Home PC renting versus outright purchase?
  • How do online shopping activities differ between Hewlett Packard, Apple and Dell customers?
  • What’s typically bundled with a PC?
  • What is the frequency of printer consumables purchase?
  • Where are printer users buying their printer supplies? Are these the same channels as where they buy their printers?
  • Is the smartphone killing PC shopping?
  • Where do people buy their printer supplies?
  • What other items (printers, software, monitors/displays, extended service plan, etc.) do people typically buy with their PC purchase?
  • What happens when the online promise is not kept? (online banking broken, egovernment not representative)
  • Do PC users behave differently with experience? Newbies vs. Vets
  • Which segments have recently paid for a downloaded mobile phone app?
  • How strong is name-brand dominance?
  • What peripherals and options do users purchase before they purchase their PC, with their PC, and after they’ve purchased their PC?
  • What happens to old PCs?
  • Which activities are different for dial-up than broadband? What’s driving bandwidth needs?
  • Beyond paper or plastic: New or refilled? Original or competitor?
  • What types and combinations of consumer electronics are homes using and planning to use?
  • Which segments are utilizing cloud computing? For which activities?
  • What are consumers planning to buy? (in consumer electronics, connected home, computers, Internet, etc.)
  • Most-mobile customers – where they go and what they do
  • Primacy – PC-centric, phone-centric, … or BOB? (BOB=Best of Breed) (What is the center of their world?)
  • Which segments are the most music-intensive? What is the overlap of music-centered products and services by segment?
  • Navigation, Maps, and GPS – who’s getting directions?
  • How big are the key tiers of the game-playing population?
  • Which gaming platform dominates with which market segment?
  • How do the segments of mobile phone platforms vary?
  • Which platforms offer the best opportunity for particular activities? How do segments vary?
  • How many and which segments are watching and renting movies on which platforms?

If solid answers to any of these example questions would help your work in creating the future, please contact MetaFacts.

MetaFacts, Inc. helps technology marketers find and measure their best and future customers.

Current subscribers of Technology User Profile may obtain this information directly from MetaFacts, as well as additional customized drilling down into the full datasets.

For more information on the results delivered in TUP and about how to subscribe, please contact MetaFacts.

The above questions are answered with the TUP 2010 edition, and even more questions are answered in the TUP 2011 edition.

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Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, MetaFAQs, Statistics, Tech Market, Trends, TUP 2009, TUP 2010