Large Format Printers (LFP) used for printing billboards, indoor ads and digital photography suffered a 35% drop year-on-year (YoY) to 1,250 units. However LFPs used for technical printing, such as architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) blueprints, experienced a 6% rise YoY to 2,560 units.
By the International Data Corporation's (IDC) estimates, the Large Format Picture market declined by 12% YoY to $21 million.
"Whilst the technical printing LFP market result was mostly driven by refreshments in the commercial and government space, there was also a large increase in the 24" LFP segment throughout 2011 primarily due to a high sell-through by HP with aggressive promotions and advertisements," said Suzanne Tai, IDC Associate Market Analyst.
The IDC believes businesses held off buying new printers for two reasons: concern of worrying global economic conditions and the anticipation of new printing technology to be revealed at the LFP DRUPA event in Germany this May. The event takes place once every four years.
"New models for both technical and graphical LFPs are expected to be released this year at the event, where vendors will showcase their 4 years of innovation and creation", said Tai. Release of new LFP technology in Australia is expected during the second half of 2012.
The Australian LFP market is expected to increase by 2% in 2012 credited to the technical printing market, with the graphical printing market to pick up at the end of 2012.
Of the Hewlett Packard dominated the market with the brand shipping 50% of all printers in 2011, followed by Canon (18%) and Roland (10%).