Canon captured a unit market share of 23% in the overall India...

Canon captured a unit market share of 23% in the overall India HCP market, foresees immense potential in the photo printing segment

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Mr. C Sukumaran, Director- Consumer Systems Products and Image Communication Business, Canon India

Canon India Pvt. Ltd. is a world leader in imaging technologies by an extensive product portfolio which include Copier MFDs, Managed Document Services, Fax-Machines, Printers, Document and Cheque Scanners, All-in-ones, Digital Cameras, DSLRs, Mirrorless cameras, Cinematic Imaging Products, Camcorders, Cable ID Printers, Card printers, Surveillance cameras and Medical Imaging products. 

In an exclusive interaction with Mr. C Sukumaran, Director- Consumer Systems Products and Image Communication Business, Canon India discusses with NCN regarding the changing trends, its market share in the printer segment and the company’s best-laid plans to achieve the goal of providing best innovative technologies efficiently and fast, and its roles amid this challenging environment. 

How did Canon perform in 2020-21 and what is the impact of COVID-19?

The year 2020-2021 has been challenging for everyone with lockdown forcing people to be home and transforming many aspects of our life as we adapted to the new normal. Work from Home and Learn from Home shifted the usage pattern from visiting copy shops for their print requirements to getting a quick fix solution at the comfort of their home. We took this as an opportunity to help people adapt to the challenging hybrid working/learning environment aided by our printing solutions.

We, at Canon India, have focused on business continuity while continually monitoring the situation. We have been gaining market share in the inkjet category, building positive mindshare for our products among consumers. Currently, our Consumer Systems Products (CSP) division contributes 35% to the overall business at Canon India and we aim to augment the same in 2021. We have received an overwhelming response from our consumers, which has always been our primary focus.  We are optimistic for the coming years, as we plan to expand our retail footprint across tier III and tier IV markets to connect with consumers at every touchpoint. We aim to further increase our foothold in the inkjet segment in the coming years while maintaining a profitable commercial market share in the laser segment. 

How has the pandemic changed the needs of customers?

The pandemic has changed the way people operate and adapt to a new normal. With the entire world adapting to working from home and studying from home, the need to have an infrastructure to support this hybrid working environment has driven the demand for home printers. It has shifted the usage pattern from customers visiting copy shops for their print requirements to getting a quick fix solution at the comfort of their home. The implementation of virtual classes has further proliferated the growth of home printers as parents look forward to printing learning materials and homework for their children. Working from home also demands a high-speed cloud-enabled network printer and Wi-Fi-enabled ink tank printers that give them the ease to initiate printouts directly from their smartphones and laptops. While these scenarios might be a challenge for the customers, however, these are opportunities for us to help them adapt to the situation by offering them an efficient solution through our printers. 

Catering to such needs, our PIXMA G Series has been gaining good response in the market and is widely accepted at home as well as office segments because of its lower running cost and higher return on investment. Canon PIXMA G series Printer is the ideal choice for every printing need from business proposals, projects, homework, photographs, or recipes. These printers come packed with a wide range of advanced features & functions that aim to boost productivity and help users work more efficiently.

After the outbreak of Covid-19, there seems to be a big jump in the demand for ink tank and inkjet printers. How did Canon leverage this trend?

In a largely connected world today, consumers are looking for products that are not just affordable but provide them the best value for money as per their print volume requirements. It is our consistent effort to design and bring forth products that enable users to get the best quality output and at the same time be economical as well. We have a ‘full line-up strategy’, consisting of a range of printers catering across segments- from home to small offices and enterprise segment. 

Along with our best-in-class product portfolio, we also believe that a strong consumer connection plays a key role to further strengthen the business. Aimed at creating positive mindshare among both home-user and small & medium enterprises, last year we rolled out the “India Ka Printer” campaign to position the Canon PIXMA G series Printer as the ideal choice for every printing need. 

Additionally, our robust service infrastructure also played a critical role in supporting customers in these times. We ensured seamless and remote technical assistance, increasing brand loyalty amongst them. Through our service initiatives, we want to put customer requirements at the forefront, as they continue to enjoy a hassle-free service.

How Canon performs in the laser printers segment?

We have seen a positive demand for laser printers in the B2B sector. We are swiftly transitioning from the entry-level to mid-high end category, which is where our focused approach is going to be. We have a balance of sales across all channels of both B2B and B2C segments. Additionally, we have a good presence in the government business as well through our trusted System Integrator (SI) channel. Through our solutions-based approach and our trusted and dependable SI channel, we have made a shift from segment based to account-based operations.

What is Canon’s current market share in different segments (inkjet printers, and laser printers) how the brand is doing compared to your competitors?

Basis a recent Q1 2021 report by IDC, we have captured a unit market share of 23% in the overall India HCP market. In the inkjet segment, we have observed a growth of 127% at the back of our increased online presence and lucrative channel partner’s schemes. In the laser printer segment, we have been able to maintain the 2nd position with a market share of 24%.

What are the technological innovations in printing and how Canon’s initiatives drive the supply channel?

In recent times, consumer buying decision is hugely influenced by the ease in connectivity that a printer will offer, including Wi-Fi, mobile printing and cloud services. Hence, it is imperative to build on innovations that make printing an easy and enjoyable experience for consumers. At Canon, we are driven by innovation and in sync with our corporate tagline – ‘Delighting You Always’, we aim to introduce products with superior technological advancements, innovating in all three domains- cost efficiency, speed, and ease of use. The printers are designed to deliver high ink volumes and low-cost printing, as well as include the drip-free, hands-free ink refilling mechanism, and a user-replaceable maintenance cartridge designed to ensure minimum downtime and maximum productivity for homes and businesses. 

With a strong network of 100+ distributors and 3000+ channel partners across the length and breadth of the country, we are constantly connected with our partners ensuring product availability at every point. Regional penetration is one of our core focus areas as we want to make our products and services available to the farthest geographies in the country. We have also expanded our reach by opening 125+ PIXMA Zones and 830 + OIC Signature Stores. The primary objective is to increase the availability of Canon Printers and genuine consumables across India along with maximizing the brand presence. Additionally, we also have a strong online presence on e-commerce channels which have played an important role in strengthening our product visibility.

What new products does Canon plan to launch in 2021-22?

While the pandemic has led to a widespread shift of people adapting to a hybrid working environment, it can be one of the takeaways from the lockdown as it has now evolved from policy to strategy. This has made Wi-Fi enabled ink tank printers a piece of standard equipment across each home. This can also be substantiated by the fact that there has been a rise in the demand for home printers and consumables. 

Earlier this year, we extended our PIXMA G series portfolio with seven new models namely PIXMA G3060, PIXMA G3021, PIXMA G3020, PIXMA G2060, PIXMA G2021, PIXMA G2020, and  PIXMA G1020. Designed to ensure minimum downtime and maximum productivity for homes and businesses with high print volume demands, PIXMA G series is enabled to deliver up to 7,600 black-and-white document pages and 7,700 color document pages on the bundled set of 4 ink bottles.

Additionally, with customers investing more time and effort in capturing photographs and creating memories, we are witnessing a rising interest in home photo-printing. Therefore, we are expecting to see a rise in demand for photo-printers this year. To cater to such needs, we have now launched the new line up of photo printers including PIXMA G570, PIXMA G670, imagePROGRAF PRO-300 and PIXMA PRO-200.

The two new PIXMA G series six-colour ink tank printers are built to unlock the power of high quality, enhanced photo longevity and low-cost printing for photo studios, businesses, home segment and creative work. Also, extending professional photographers, photo schools and advanced amateurs the ability to print stunning images on a diverse range of paper media, the imagePROGRAF PRO-300 and PIXMA PRO-200 houses Canon’s latest printing technologies to create professional photos and exhibition-ready prints up to A3+ sizes. 

What future trends do you foresee and how Canon is preparing for the same?

The pandemic has made every industry evolve and adapt basis the new market dynamics and the printing industry is no different. Over the past one year, India’s workforce has come to terms with the new normal of working from home. As a result, several companies have now come forward to offer allowances to help employees configure their work-from-home setups – be it fast internet connections, printers, or ergonomic furniture. This trend has not only increased the demand for home printers but has further proliferated the adoption of connected and cloud enabled MFPs that are cost-effective and offer an all-in-one solution. 

With remote work here to stay and the network perimeter disintegrating, IT teams are struggling to maintain visibility through remote monitoring and threat detection. Hence, we foresee a shift in organizations preferring a printer fleet that meets the latest security standards along with advanced technology that allows speedier and more verified printing. 

Further, we also foresee immense scope in the growth of photo printing with people picking it up as a hobby while spending more time at home. As the culture of photo printing continues to gain momentum, we are positive that our new 6 colour ink tank printers will cater to this demand and provide customers with smart printing solutions. 

Who are your primary target audience?

Our target audiences are working professionals, parents, students who are struggling to adapt to the new hybrid work environment and looking for cost efficient and reliable printing solutions.

Additionally, we continue to strengthen our presence in the SME, Government and Enterprise segment through our expansive printer lineup across inkjet and laser categories.

What scope do you see in the Indian market? 

For Canon, India holds immense potential in the printing segment. The increasing entrepreneurship in the country, especially the emergence of small businesses in tier 2, 3 & 4 cities has been a key imperative for our B2B business growth. Moreover, we are also witnessing a steady growth in our consumer printing business with the home segment thriving during the pandemic. In line with these opportunities, we will continue to focus on high-quality products, providing a great customer experience and after-sales support, and expand our reach across region in India.