Global Trends on Buying Ink Cartridges and the Reasons for High Prices

Thousands of people buy Canon ink cartridges daily and the numbers will increase over the next few years. Indeed, it is expect that the global ink cartridge and toner market will be worth over 20 billion USD by the start of the next decade.

One trend not to ignore is the demand for eco-friendly and sustainable ink cartridges. With companies such as Canon being on the forefront of developing energy-efficient printers and following the same principles to ensure more eco-friendly products for the ink market, it is understandable that so many people now buy Canon ink cartridges.

Other trends that can be observed in the printing market are:

  • Stronger demand for hybrid cartridges.
  • Improvement in the refill technologies.
  • Remanufacturing of ink cartridges to minimise waste.
  • Improved digital inks.
  • Increased focus on ink jet printing technologies.
  • Increased availability of cartridges at specialised outlets, such as Cartridge Hyper.

Eco-friendly cartridges are no longer just a trend, but will in future be a requirement, as the world is moving towards sustainable practices to reduce the impact that human development has on the environment. Whether manufacturers will reduce their prices remains to be seen, since many of the cartridges now have single-use chips, making it difficult to simply refill the cartridges. However, with remanufactured cartridges, the chips are reprogrammed, which helps to overcome the “cartridge not recognised” error that many of the printers give upon installation of refilled or remanufactured cartridges.

More UV inks will become available in future and will feature better opacity, superior print quality and compliance with the need to minimise our environmental footprint. At present, UV inks are still extremely expensive and rare.

The United States of America is expected to keep its position as the biggest user of ink cartridges, although people from all over the world buy Canon ink cartridges because of the reputation of the brand as a firm focussed on energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes.

The question remains why original manufacturer cartridges are so expensive and whether we can expect to see the products become more affordable in future? Apparently the chances are slim because of the time that it takes to develop the new technologies. This, in turn, translates into a lot of research and testing, which at the end of the day adds to the cost of development.

Everything from specialised chemicals and solvents, to various chip technologies goes into the making of the cartridges. Each component in the cartridge is important and is rather expensive to include. The cartridges are developed for specific printers and because of such, are aimed for niches. With such customisation also comes a higher price tag. Every time a printer is replaced with newer printer technology, it means that the cartridge must also be developed to fit the new printer. As such, the development costs never seem to be reduced. Quality of printing is stated as the final reason for the higher prices of OEM ink cartridges.

For budget strapped users and users printing large volumes requiring cost cutting measures, there is good news – Cartridge Hyper outlets in South Africa stock affordable OEM Canon cartridges, in addition to generic alternatives.


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