"It was much cheaper than that last time I ordered." With many businesses and consumers struggling to make ends meet, it seems that the cost of printing is continuing to spiral. Consumable prices have risen steadily throughout 2008 and the first quarter of 2009, by an average of 15%, but as much as 30%, each time. Further rises are expected, with Brother and Oki already set to increase the cost of their consumables in April. There is every sign that this trend will continue for the foreseeable future and that other manufacturers will follow suit.
At a time when everyone is trying to save money, it may seem like manufacturers and vendors are taking the opportunity to turn the screw. So, why are prices going up so rapidly?
In short, the market is suffering the effects of a weak pound; at the time of writing, a pound will buy as little as $1.39, as opposed to $1.60 in November. This means that an item priced at $50 would have cost £31.25 in November but would cost £35.97 now (this compares with £24.03 in November 2007). The cost of manufacturing goods in the UK continues to rise, with inflation currently at 3% against the government’s target of 2%. With production costs rising and a weaker pound, it is becoming more and more expensive to get goods into the market place. Profit margins on printer hardware have plummeted as competition increases and consumers demand greater performance for less money. In many cases, manufacturers make a loss on the actual printer and rely solely on consumables sales to make a profit. It's fashionable these days to knock large companies for making a healthy profit but these profits allow companies to operate effectively, to invest in new products and technologies and to create jobs.
The following manufacturers have increased their prices in 2009:
- Oki – February (and April TBC)
- HP – Gradually rising since November 08
- Konica Minolta – March
- Lexmark – February
- Canon – February
- Brother – April (TBC)
Surely I can buy my consumables cheaper elsewhere? If you shop around, you may still find companies with stock at the old prices, however, beware of companies offering suspiciously cheap consumables. Some vendors will sell compatible toners masquerading as originals and these will often be cartridges that have simply been refilled. Printware also sells compatible consumables but these are always advertised as such. Many resellers will "stack 'em high and sell 'em cheap" – they’re not interested in providing a service and don't have the full support of the manufacturers. Saving a few pounds on a toner suddenly loses its appeal when a problem arises and the vendor can't, or won't, resolve it. As an official partner of companies such as Xerox and HP, Printware purchases all its printer supplies from authorised distributors, who operate with the full support and backup of the manufacturers. This means that we offer an unrivalled after sales service and will be on hand to help in the event of any problems.
So, what can Printware do to help with my print costs? Actually, quite a lot; our expert team are on hand to advise you on the best way to manage your print costs and get the most out of your printers. This can include choosing the right printer to meet your needs; striking the right balance between purchase price, specification and running costs can save hundreds of pounds over the life of your printer without compromising performance. Our team can also advise on how you can save money buy using compatible toners which can be up to 40% cheaper than the originals (read more about this in our Originals or Compatibles Resource) Finally, we can talk to you about consumables contracts and how these can help you manage your print costs and streamline your ordering process, allowing you to budget and plan more effectively.
Give Printware a call today and find out how we can help manage your print costs.
by Anthony Morgan