Tag Archives: Printers

Scanners, scanning, and disappearing paper [TUPdate]

Inertia simultaneously saves and disrupts technological transformation. Scanners and printers with integrated scanners have been at the heart of the paper to digital change. So much that was paper is now electronic. The “paperless office” has been a hyped cliché for decades, and yet is truer with each passing year. Although electronic signatures have been legal for over 20 years in most countries, and digital copies are increasingly acceptable in many cases, the migration from paper to electronic lumbers along gradually. Consumers and businesses alike continue to need to convert hardcopy documents and images into electronic form.

Standalone Scanners Subsiding

Scanning is still alive, although standalone scanners are only being used by a relative few.

The regular use of a standalone scanner has sagged across a range of countries, as we found in research results from the MetaFacts TUP/Technology User Profile survey. Our TUP 2019 survey of 11,625 respondents in the US, Germany, and China show that only a small percent of online adults use a standalone scanner.

There are a range of standalone scanners available, as distinct from the scanners included in MFP (Multi-Function Printers).  Standalone scanners with ADFs (automatic document feeders) are well-suited to converting large batches of documents into a digital form, either for archiving or for wider use in a new electronic form. Flatbed scanners are useful for incidental scanning. Specialized scanners, such as business card scanners, are also useful for specific tasks. All these types of standalone scanners are included within these numbers, reflecting their niche use.

Standalone neither young nor old

Younger generations, many referred to as digital natives, have not embraced standalone scanners. Neither are older adults the major users of paper scanners. The share of age 18-24 and 25-34 are effectively the same as among age 55-64 and 65 and older.

What the young do

Younger Americans – especially age 25-34 – have a unique scanning profile. As compared to any other age group, they are above average in using standalone scanners to scan personal documents, personal photographs, work documents, and work photographs. Americans age 55+ stand out in being well above average in scanning personal documents. These older are adults are also well below average in scanning personal photographs and work documents or photographs.

Difference of One or Many among Young and Old

Older Americans that use standalone scanners use flatbed one-document-at-a-time scanners at a much higher rate than younger Americans. While 78% of American scanner users age 65+ use a flatbed scanner, only 26% of adults age 18-24 do so. Instead, a higher share of younger adults use a multi-document scanner, with 61% of standalone scanners age 18-24 using one and 54% of age 25-34. Neither younger nor older Americans are primarily using a portable/business card scanner. Among these least-used devices, there’s a slightly younger skew.

More ways than one

Many online adults use computer printers for scanning, choosing either those with single-sheet platens or automatic document feeders (ADF).

Use of printers for scanning is more widespread than use of standalone scanners. Roughly ten times as many adults regularly use their primary printer for scanning as use a standalone printer. The percent of online adults in the US is 36%, 35% in China, and 46% in Germany. These rates are down somewhat from 2015 through 2019 in the many countries we surveyed.

Printer scanning for elders

When using a computer printer to scan, a much higher share of scanning is among older than younger Americans. Half (50%) of online Americans age 65 and higher use their primary printer to scan photos or documents. Among online Americans age 54 and younger, only 35% or fewer regularly use a printer to scan.

One at a time

Over three-fourths (78%) of Americans who scan using a printer only scan one document at a time. Almost half of that number, 37%, only scan multiple items using an automated document feeder. Another half of that number, 16%, regularly do both.

Looking ahead

The silent substitute competition for scanners is near at hand – smartphones. Although arguably smartphones don’t handle the highest demands for scanning, they’re more than adequate for many purposes. Archiving large batches of documents or photographs will continue to be a job for high-end standalone scanners. To take a quick scan of a document, though, to share with others, is well within the capability of nearly every smartphone, and that’s even before the use of specialized scanning or deskewing apps. Add smartphone apps like Microsoft Lens, CamScanner, or the many others that include OCR (optical character recognition) and most needs are covered well enough.

Yet another substitute for scanning is also silent – paperless statements. The majority of banks, brokerages, creditors, utilities, and other suppliers continue to encourage their customers to move from paper to electronic statements. Also, tax and other governmental authorities are increasingly digital, both sending and receiving documents electronically. This reduces the demand for customers to scan paper documents that they can simply download and send to whoever needs a copy.

These trends don’t mean that scanning will completely go away. In fact, most of the decline has already happened for scanner use and scanning with printers. These devices and activities have dropped to the realm of being a niche and are likely to remain so.

About this TUPdate

The analysis in this TUPdate is based on results drawn from multiple waves of TUP (Technology User Profile), including the 2019 edition which is TUP’s 37th continuous wave. This survey-based study details the use of technology products by a carefully-selected and weighted set of respondents drawn to represent online adults.

Current TUP subscribers may request the supporting TUP information used for this analysis or for even deeper analysis. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Graphics and Image, Market Research, Printers, TUP 2019, TUPdate

Home Printing Trends – US 2019 [TUPdate]


Printing at home has changed in recent years. Printer manufacturers continue to innovate in order to compete and encourage broad active printer use.

This TUPdate looks at the major trends in home printing in the US, and examines how users have changed in both what they print and their volume of printing. Also, it examines printing trends with respect to the broadened use of mobile devices. Further, it looks into whether younger adults print more or less than older ones, and whether presence of children makes a difference.

The source for this analysis is MetaFacts TUP/Technology User Profile, with results from waves 2015 through 2019, all based on surveys of from 7,326 to 8,060 online adults in the US.

Home Printer Penetration

The majority of online adults in the US use a home printer, although market penetration has dropped over the last two years.

In 2019, 68% of online adults in the US actively use a home printer. This is effectively the same level as in 2018 – 67%. However, this share had been a stable 73% between 2015 to 2017.

The decline has been driven by substitutes, primarily increased use mobile devices

Home Printer Page Volume Has Declined

While the penetration of home printers has dropped slowly then stabilized, the number of pages being printed has dropped faster.

The average number of pages printed per month has dropped from 38.6 per month in 2015 to 31.8 in 2019, a reduction of nearly 20%.

Mobile Substitutes For Printing

One of the biggest contributors to the decline in printing – the mass move to mobile platforms. Americans are increasingly using their smartphones to find their way instead of printing maps or directions. That change is happening surely yet slowly.

It may surprise many digital natives that as many as 43.7 million Americans still occasionally print maps/directions.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Consumer research, Graphics and Image, Market Research, Printers, TUP 2019, TUPdate

Home Printers – Refilled or Original? [TUPdate]

When consumers buy a home printer, they’re also buying ink for as long as they use their printer. HP has the lowest rate of US consumers using refilled ink. Of the major brands, HP has the lowest share – 16%, while Brother and Dell have the highest share, 37%. Over the last two years, this refill share has only slightly wavered.

This is based on the most recent wave of Technology User Profile (TUP), the 2017 edition.

The majority of HP’s home printer customers are using HP’s ink, and only 7% are using a replacement brand such as Office Depot or Staples.

Similarly, most of Epson and Canon’s ink is their own brand, making up two-thirds of home printer users.

Outside of the US, the picture is somewhat similar.

The majority of ink being used in HP printers is HP-branded, at a rate that is being closely trailed by Dell. While the US original-ink rate is strongest in the US for most major home printer brands, this rate is lower in nearly every country in the TUP 2017 survey: China, India, and Germany.

Brother’s original-ink share is nearly as strong in India as it is in the US, at just under one-half of home printers.

Who are the refillers?

Refillers around the world are younger than those who buy original ink – whether the same brand as the printer or a competitive offering. While the average (mean) age of adults who use refills in their home printers is 36, the age of original ink users is 41, a full five years older. Those using competitive ink are yet again another 4 years older.

There’s also a difference in choice of ink with respect to employment status.

Those using refilled ink have a higher share that are employed or self-employed than those using original ink. Those using competitive ink are less likely to be employed outside the home than those using original ink.

Related research results

MetaFacts Technology User Profile (TUP) includes extensive printer-related information: printer usage volume, actively used printer features, printer activities, wireless printing, high-capacity and subscription ink, and more.


The information in this TUPdate is based on a survey of online adults in mid-2017 as part of the MetaFacts Technology User Profile (TUP) study. The TUP study universe included a representative sample of online adults, carefully selected and weighted to be fully representative. Current TUP subscribers can obtain the results of this newest research at a discount. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Graphics and Image, Market Research, Printers, TUP 2017, TUPdate

Subscription Ink – Only for Busy Youngsters?

Is there an age skew for subscribing to an ink replacement plan?

Consider the person racing to print that important report or family photo, only to discover their printer is out of ink. While office supply and discount retailers still lead as major sources for printer ink purchases, the most-recent market disruption offers a preemptive choice – ink by subscription.metafacts-metafaqs-mq0030-ink-subscription-2016-11-30_11-44-36

Busy and convenience-oriented youngish adults have lead the adoption of subscription ink. Adults age 25-39 have the highest rates of subscription ink usage.

While the national average rate is 22% of adults with printers that subscribe to an ink replacement plan, among adults age 30-34 the rate is double that – at 45%. This is narrowly followed by Adults age 35-39 with 43%.

In addition to their quest for ease and convenience, these age groups are also highest in the presence of children full-time employment and household income, a very active life stage. These sociological factors help drive the demand for family photos, recipes, and greeting cards.

Looking ahead, we expect the attitudes of this often-engrossed group to continue, furthering adoption of subscription ink within this age segment.


This is based on our most recent research among 7,336 US adults as part of the Technology User Profile (TUP) 2016 survey.

This MetaFAQs research result addresses one of the many questions profiling active technology users, and is based on the following TUP table set: 460 SUxAGE in the Age Category Section of the TUP User Profile Chapter.

Many other related answers are part of the TUP service, available to paid subscribers. The TUP chapter with the most information about printers and printing activities is the TUP 2016 Printer Chapter, and about age-skewed tech usage in the TUP 2016 User Profile Chapter.

For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.

Comments Off on Subscription Ink – Only for Busy Youngsters?

Filed under Graphics and Image, Printers, TUP 2016, TUPdate

Are most home printers purchased where ink is? (MetaFAQs)

Our research shows that most home printers are purchased in one type of outlet, and ink bought somewhere else.

For home printers, Discount retail store such as Wal-Mart or Target and Consumer electronics stores such as Best Buy collectively account for nearly half of the outlets where home printers are purchased. By contrast, consumer electronics stores account for only one in nine home printer ink purchase outlets. Instead, half of printer ink outlets are Office supply retailers such as Office Depot and discount retail stores.metafacts-metafaqs-mq0009-2016-11-02_10-57-55

It’s a conflict that has been a conundrum for printer manufacturers for many years. Subscription services such as Hewlett Packard’s Instant Ink have started to change the formula. These programs bypass brick-and-mortar and online retailers alike to entice many printer users to simply buy direct. They also have the benefit to printer manufacturers of reducing consumer’s consideration of options for buying and using refilled ink.

This is based on our most recent research among 7,336 US adults as part of the Technology User Profile (TUP) 2016 survey.

This MetaFAQs research result addresses one of the many questions profiling active technology users.

Many other related answers are part of the full TUP service, available to paid subscribers. The TUP chapters with the most information about activities is the TUP 2016 Printers Chapter.

These MetaFAQs are brought to you by MetaFacts, based on research results from their most-recent wave of Technology User Profile (TUP).

For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.

Comments Off on Are most home printers purchased where ink is? (MetaFAQs)

Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, MetaFAQs, Printers, TUP 2016