How much ink do the world's inkjet printers use each year?

Next year, over 314 million inkjet cartridges will be sold in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, according to data provided by the IDC. The IDC also indicates that a third of global printing occurs in this region. Putting those two figures together we get 942 million cartridges that will be sold across the world in 2012; that’s almost thirty cartridges per second.

These numbers are so large, it’s difficult to conceptualise the full extent of their scale, so the following infographic visualises this figure in a number of different ways.

The amount of ink used by inkjet printers worldwide in a year is truly substantial – that’s enough ink to print 39 million A4-sized photos, and enough ink to fill 4.5 Olympic-sized swimming pools. 

Part of the reason for these large figures is the market share of inkjet printing devices. Across the world, almost two thirds – 64 percent – of all printing devices are inkjet, but their global share is decreasing by 1.4 percent each year as consumers move toward laser printing options.

In particular, the use of colour laser printers is on the rise, with the number of pages printed on those devices growing 11 percent over the course of a year. Interestingly, colour laser printing is increasing in both the developed and the developing world. With 85 percent of the world’s laser printers still restricted to printing only in black, there is a great deal of room for growth in this market.

Increasingly, people are targeting independent sources for their inkjet cartridges rather than buying the branded product linked with their printers. When comparing 2011’s figures to those of 2010, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) inkjet consumables sales decreased by 19.2 percent. This change can be attributed to the recession, as consumers are looking to cut corners and are seeking out cheaper options for their printer cartridges.

Also, the use of these non-OEM cartridges is not consistent across all of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (the EMEA region). "The demand is higher in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa than in Western Europe. This is because of different price sensitivities and the structure of local offers, with, for example, Russia and Ukraine being heavily dominated by bulk products and refill kits," EMEA Consumables Program Manager Joanna Pupkowska said.

Data compiled from IDC

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