Pricey Brother and Lexmark Cartridges Dampen Affordable Color Laser Fanfare, Says Lyra

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Lyra Research, the digital imaging authority, recently investigated the “sticker shock” phenomenon that some consumers experience when buying replacement toner cartridges for their affordable color laser printers. According to Lyra’s Hard Copy Supplies Advisory Service, for two of the sub-$500 color laser printers examined, a set of four replacement cartridges actually costs more than the printer does. A set of replacement cartridges for the Brother HL-2700CN, which sells for $499.98, costs 19 percent more than the printer. Similarly, four replacement cartridges for the $399.98 Lexmark C510 cost nearly 10 percent more than the printer. See the complete press release for information on replacement cartridges for other printers from Dell, HP, Konica Minolta, Lexmark, Oki and Xerox.

Lyra Research, the digital imaging authority, recently investigated the “sticker shock” phenomenon that some consumers experience when buying replacement toner cartridges for their affordable color laser printers. According to Lyra’s Hard Copy Supplies Advisory Service, for two of the sub-$500 color laser printers examined, a set of four replacement cartridges (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) actually costs more than the printer does. A set of replacement cartridges for the Brother HL-2700CN, which sells for $499.98, costs 19 percent more than the printer. Similarly, four replacement cartridges for the $399.98 Lexmark C510 cost nearly 10 percent more than printer. While no other sets of replacement cartridges exceeded the price of a printer, several color laser printer vendors, including Dell, HP, Konica Minolta, and Lexmark, sell a complete set of replacement cartridges for approximately 75 to 93 percent of the printer price (see figure: http://lyra6.lyra.com/unitymailimages/sticker-shock-pr.jpg ). Cartridges for Oki’s C3200n fared best in the comparison, selling for 54 percent of the printer price.

Cortney Kasuba, toner analyst for Lyra Research and author of the study, explains the implications, “There has been a lot of fanfare about the availability of affordable, sub-$500 color laser printers. Color toner cartridges, however, have not followed suit in the downward pricing trend. While low printer prices may attract consumers to stores, the sticker shock they experience when it is time to buy new cartridges may ultimately lead to more conservative color printing habits—consumers may opt to print in monochrome more often than many printer vendors had anticipated. This development has the potential to disrupt the razors-and-blades revenue model in this market segment. Interestingly, some of the pricier cartridges actually have relatively high page yields, but in this price-sensitive category, consumers are more likely to associate value with low out-of-pocket costs.”

The complete analysis, “Sticker Shock: When Replacement Toner Cartridges Cost More Than the Printer,” is available to Lyra’s Hard Copy Supplies Advisory Service (SAS) clients for immediate download. To learn more about this study and the SAS, please call Brian Jones at 617-454-2641.

About Lyra’s Hard Copy Supplies Advisory Service

Selling cartridges, ink, toner, paper, and specialty media to an ever-increasing number of end users demands a keen understanding of various user environments—corporate, commercial, SOHO, and home—each of which requires different marketing, packaging, and distribution channels. Lyra Research’s Hard Copy Supplies Advisory Service (SAS), a high-level, online strategic and tactical planning resource, provides the information and advice that vendors need to thrive. The SAS allows clients to augment their product development, competitive intelligence, and marketing functions without the addition of costly staff. The SAS includes Lyra’s innovative Forecast 360, forecast perspectives, primary research, in-depth industry analysis, commentaries, comprehensive product data, and access to expert analysts.

About Lyra Research

Founded in 1991, Lyra Research (http://www.lyra.com) is recognized worldwide as the leading provider of market, product, and technology information and analysis focused on the imaging industry. Lyra Research provides targeted information on printers and copiers, digital photography, and imaging supplies to more than 2,000 clients in more than 40 countries. Lyra’s portfolio of services includes leading industry newsletters, special market reports, advisory services, conferences, Webcasts, and custom consulting.

Related Chart Data

Replacement Cost for Toner Cartridges Relative to Printer Price

KEY: Printer Vendor and Model, Cartridge Price as a Percent of Printer Price

Brother HL-2700CN, 119%

Lexmark C510, 110%

Lexmark C522n, 93%

Dell Laser 3100cn, 88%

Konica Minolta magicolor 2400W, 81%

HP Color LaserJet 2600n, 81%

Dell Laser 3000cn, 75%

Xerox Phaser 6120N, 62%

Okidata C3200n, 54%

Source: Lyra Research, Inc., Hard Copy Supplies Advisory Service, March 2006

(For a web-res file of this chart, please click here: http://lyra6.lyra.com/unitymailimages/sticker-shock-pr.jpg. For a high-res file of this chart, please call 617-454-2658)

CONTACT:

Andre Rebelo

Marketing Manager

Lyra Research, Inc.

617-454-2658

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Andre Rebelo