Sales of printer hardware through distributors in Western Europe (WE) during Q2 2018 were up by 3% year-on-year – the only positive year-on-year performance for imaging products in the past year, according to the latest distribution data published by Context.

Historically, Q2 has generally been the weakest quarter of the year and sales in Q2 2017 were particularly low, declining by -5,5% compared to the same period the previous year.

The increase in Q2 2018 is significant and brings sales back to a similar level to that seen in Q2 2016.

A key driver was sales of inkjet multifunction printers which had an impact on imaging sales as a whole and were up by 7% year on year. Sales of laser devices were flat for the quarter, where the positive performance of laser MFPS was offset by the negative performance of single function printers. Multifunction devices in general continue to outperform single-function devices and were up by 7,5%.

Despite increasing sales, the revenue generated in Q2 was flat overall with declining revenues in all categories apart from inkjet MFPs. This is primarily because the ASPs of laser devices, especially laser MFPs, are falling and sales of these account for more than 40% of the revenue generated.

Inkjets outperformed laser devices with increases in both consumer and business targeted inkjet categories. As well as being the first quarter in the year that saw positive performances for both business and consumer inkjets, Q2 also saw the consumer printers outperform those targeted at businesses with a 6% year on year increase in sales.