Home usage of inkjet inktank printers gets a boost during Covid, says Siva Kumar of Epson

Although office use has seen a dip

Siva Kumar, senior general manager, inkjet printers at Epson India

The lockdowns imposed in the country due to Covid-19 pandemic have resulted in employees working from home and children attending classes online. This has resulted in a rise in home usage of inkjet inktank printers. However, because the workplaces are shut, the office segment has seen a dip, said Siva Kumar, senior general manager, inkjet printers at Epson India.

“The situation created by Covid-19 has created an opportunity in the home segment as office segment was impacted due to prolonged shutdown of workplaces,” Siva Kumar said. “Information technology companies incentivized their workers to set up work infrastructure at their homes. This gave a big boost to home printing segment.”

The decline in office segment was offset to a large extent by growth in home segment; where overall impact on the inkjet inktank printers was not very severe, he said.

Epson India operations remain resilient

Although the impact on Epson India’s inkjet inktank printers was visible due to Covid-19, that impact was not very severe. For the year that ended in March 2020, Epson sold little over 810,000 units while for the year that ended in March 2021, that figure was slightly over 760,000 units.

“So, the impact has not been very big,” Siva Kumar said. The company expects that in the year that will end in March 2022, its performance will be much better. “Whatever losses we saw in April, May, and June this year are expected to be made up during the rest of the year if there are no more disruptions,” he added.

Adoption of digital communications methods

Like a lot of other companies across industries, Epson India too has successfully adopted digital communication means. The company has been interacting with its partners and customers online using digital platforms.

“We were able to connect with a lot of people and organize training programs online. Earlier we used to do face-to-face interactions but now we have aggressively adopted digital methods. This has also resulted in an increase in the number of engagements. I believe this trend will continue even if things go back to normal,” Siva Kumar said.

Focus on environment

Siva Kumar said that Epson India is working on creating greater awareness about its heat-free technology among its customers. Epson’s heat-free technology does not require heat in the ink ejection process. Instead, pressure is applied to the piezo element, which flexes backwards and forwards firing the ink from the printhead.

Heat-free technology uses less power because it does not use heat to warm up. As inkjets have no fuser unit to heat, this results in significantly less energy consumption. Thanks to heat-free technology, Epson inkjet printers use fewer parts that need replacing.

“As a responsible corporate entity, we are doing our part to care for the environment. We are trying to educate our customers about heat-free technology so that we can help them minimize impact on the environment,” he said.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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