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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23 Comments

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Printer ink ... more expensive than oil ...

As of today, about 70mL (0.07L) of HP ink in Staples is approx $42. A barrel of oil, about 160L, is approx $100.

Why do you think likes of HP throws at your face its own printer? It's because of their cartridges that they make money.

Setting that aside. Did you know that you can lower the quality of the prints? I've started doing this seeral months ago for see-and-trash works for uni, and I've saved a substantial amount of ink, and that's without taking into consideration how fast the printer is now.

900million+ cartridges print just 39 million a4 prints????? To print 1 page you require more than 25 cartridges???? Toooooooo costly to be used.

Nashy said,
The rain one is a bad stat. Amounts of rain in 30 minutes can vary in a huge way.

That's unless it's based on averages of a certain time of the year.

Edit - It is, as seen in the first part of the small print.

Better question:

How much ink do printers waste each year on cleaning cycles?

I've had full cartridges which have shown up as empty before, after printing only one document of the course of a couple of months.

I can't help but think, if they wanted to come up with a better way to do cleaning cycles, they could quite easily. Maybe an extra ink tank with a cleaning fluid or something, a fluid that costs much less than ink being spewed out at crazy rates.

My printer cleans itself at 3AM *facepalm*.
I am too lazy to unplug it though...1st world problems

Mark said,
Better question:

How much ink do printers waste each year on cleaning cycles?

I've had full cartridges which have shown up as empty before, after printing only one document of the course of a couple of months.

I can't help but think, if they wanted to come up with a better way to do cleaning cycles, they could quite easily. Maybe an extra ink tank with a cleaning fluid or something, a fluid that costs much less than ink being spewed out at crazy rates.

jon.01 said,
My printer cleans itself at 3AM *facepalm*.
I am too lazy to unplug it though...1st world problems

Although I love the amazing quality of my prints, my printer seems to do cleaning:
A) At random intervals when it's switched on
B) Occasionally before prints
C) Sometimes after AS WELL!

I complained to Canon about this but they refuse that it happens. If it isn't going through cleaning cycles, I can't imagine what it /is/ doing because it sure sounds like a cleaning cycle.

Mark said,

Although I love the amazing quality of my prints, my printer seems to do cleaning:
A) At random intervals when it's switched on
B) Occasionally before prints
C) Sometimes after AS WELL!

I complained to Canon about this but they refuse that it happens. If it isn't going through cleaning cycles, I can't imagine what it /is/ doing because it sure sounds like a cleaning cycle.

Why don't you turn it off? 0_o

Jose_49 said,

Why don't you turn it off? 0_o

I do now, lesson learned from before.

Having said that, this only fixes point A

mammix2 said,
Look at these figures....yet they still rip the arse out of the prices!!

Need of the hour research: Profit margins per cartridge taking into consideration R&D and marketing.

mammix2 said,
Look at these figures....yet they still rip the arse out of the prices!!

Hey dude, welcome to capitalism...

mammix2 said,
Look at these figures....yet they still rip the arse out of the prices!!

This.
I'd be more concerned about how many printers are wasted. In many cases in the cheap segment it's more economically viable to buy a new printer instead of dealing with the wretched cartridge.

Phouchg said,

This.
I'd be more concerned about how many printers are wasted. In many cases in the cheap segment it's more economically viable to buy a new printer instead of dealing with the wretched cartridge.

Except that none of those printers come with *full* printer cartridges. They come with starter printer cartridges that are less than half of a normal cartridge. They really need to advertise that on the box better, because I've slipped into that trap as well. Thinking buying a new printer is cheaper than just replacing the ink/toner on an existing one. Well, in some cases it might be but most of the time it is not when you consider how many pages you will get from new printer cartridges compared with a new printer + gimped starter cartridges.

mammix2 said,
Look at these figures....yet they still rip the arse out of the prices!!

That was exactly my first thought!

I've probably wasted as much ink as I've used since owning a printer, or 2, because of the ink drying up and not being able to get it unclogged even after several cleaning cycles!