Digital imaging giant, Canon India, yesterday announced its 2013-14 FY scorecard. The wholly owned subsidiary of Canon Singapore Pvt Ltd, says it captured 24% of the Inkjet business last FY and is certain of taking it up a notch, to over 30% market share in the current year. It is perhaps with this end in view that Alok Bharadwaj, the Executive Vice President of Canon India, launched 9 new inkjet printers including 6 Wi-Fi at a media extravaganza in Hyderabad yesterday. These new models were added to the PIXMA inkjet range targeting home, office, and professional users. Canon India’s inkjet offerings now total 24 models, about half of which are Wi-Fi compatible.
The digital imaging company believes that the business will now be driven by students and technological evolution. Wi-Fi connectable devices shall be the top choice of students in times to come, predicts Canon. This is perhaps the reason Canon is launching its new marketing campaign called ‘Super Student’. The company plans to reach 100 schools in 10 cities with this campaign. This year the digital imaging giant also intends to invest about 25% more in advertising and promotions than it did last year, taking up its ad budget to almost INR 120 crore.
While Canon is ostensibly upbeat about its prospects and the markets this year, let us consider the fact that the inkjet printer market has been rather flat for the past 3 years. The Indian inkjet printer business is estimated at INR 1,000 crore with 1.2-million units. A staggering 84% of this market arises from household demands. Predictably, the ink efficient models of inkjet printers contribute to 500,000 units in the market. Currently in India, HP is the market leader with about 59% market share, Canon has a 24% share, Epson comes third with about 9%, and Samsung follows Epson closely.
While Bharadwaj claims, “In the last six years, our inkjet business grew by 22 per cent from INR 62 crore to INR 200 crore in 2014”, market-watchers claim that not much of this has been due to any significant growth in markets itself, but is due to readjustment of market shares. Canon sold INR 200 crore worth inkjet printers in India last year and the newly introduced PIXMA Super Student inkjet printers are enabled with Wi-Fi Internet access apart from being packed with a range of and creative pre-loaded applications. But will these features and promotions woo the hearts of Indian students? Are students and not parents the influencers in case of household purchases? The one fact that certainly goes in Canon’s favor is that 2 of the new models are ink efficient printers bringing down the print cost to about 99 paisa per print; Canon may look at wooing the budget buyer. While we debate the possibility of the company taking over a third of the inkjet business in India, one thing is certain – we shall be viewing a lot more Canon ads on TV in the year to come.