New InfoTrends study aims to size ink and toner e-commerce

John Shane.
John Shane.

InfoTrends, a division of Keypoint Intelligence, has announced a new multi-client study entitled Sizing Ink & Toner E-Commerce: Mapping the Impact of China and Third-party Supplies. This study is designed to help ink and toner OEMs better understand the threats the e-commerce marketplace landscape represents. Purchasing supplies through e-commerce marketplaces is risky for both OEMs and end users, said the company. Preliminary results from InfoTrends’ Business Purchasing Survey show about 20% of businesses report they “shop the Internet” as among the top two ways in which they buy ink and toner cartridges. Among that 20%, almost 50% of those businesses reported issues with product purchases. “We believe that e-commerce represents the largest threat of third-party toner and inkjet cartridges to the OEMS and domestic re-manufacturers,” said John Shane, Director at InfoTrends. “This creates a serious marketing challenge as both the customer experience and brand integrity can be negatively impacted.”

According to InfoTrends, there are several risk factors that vendors face:

  • E-Commerce marketplaces offer buyers of supplies a bewildering assortment of ink and toner cartridges.
  • Many third-party inks and toners sold on the Internet appear to be patent or trademark infringing.
  • Third-party supplies on the Internet are often 20% of the price of OEM supplies.
  • Users may or may not be receiving the products that they are expecting.
  • Competitive manufacturing sources are frequently unknown.

Results of this study will:

  • Qualify the impact of e-commerce marketplaces.
  • Size the annual units and revenues (at final sale) of inkjet and toner cartridges by Internet-based retailers.
  • Identify key industry marketing challenges.
  • Profile the customer purchase process, product, and overall experience from a cross-section of internet-based retailers.
  • Profile the customers of inkjet and toner cartridges from internet-based retailers and understand their characteristics, behaviour, and experiences.
  • Distill multiple data sources to characterize the impact of third-party supplies on the Internet.


Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.