“CISS segment in India is a lucrative market…”

C Sukumaran, Assistant Director- Consumer Systems Products (CSP) Division, Canon
C Sukumaran, Assistant Director (CSP) division, Canon India

Sometime back C Sukumaran was promoted to Assistant Director of Consumer Systems Products (CSP) division at Canon India, where he heads CSP division’s Laser and Inkjet printer business in India. He has been with Canon for over 15 years and prior to joining the CSP division, he worked as the Assistant Director of the Business Imaging Solutions (BIS) division. In a chat with Karma Negi of The Red Mark, Sukumaran talks about his new role and his plans for the division.

As the newly appointed Assistant Director of CSP division at Canon India, what is your plan of action to strengthen this division?

With a vision of accelerating growth and secure profits, my plan of action would entail focusing on driving growth, market share and profitability for inkjet and laser printing products. Canon CSP division would continue to become the helping hands behind Start-Up India initiative and enable ideas and transformations across Indian entrepreneurs.

Along with my team, I plan to take the marketing and sales of the products to the next level, making Canon the industry leader in the printing domain. We believe channel partners are integral to the division’s growth prospects, hence we will be looking forward to work closely with the partners to create the required reach. We endeavour to penetrate intensely into Tier-2 and Tier-3 markets to create a wider and stronger customer base.

Will we see any changes in the business strategy with regard to the CSP division’s Laser and Inkjet printer business? If yes, what will they be?

Canon India has been faring well compared to other players in the consumer printer segment in India. The market for both Inkjet and Laser products are still evolving owing to the changing customer requirements. In accordance with our Laser printer portfolio, we would extensively focus on strengthening our reach to the B2B and B2G segment.

For the Inkjet segment, we would continue to develop strategies to amplify our services and strengthen our association with our existing and potential clientele. We have undertaken a robust plan to address the diversified needs and requirements of customers with our comprehensive range of products and services.

How do you perceive the overall printer market in the country, and laser and inkjet market in particular?

India has turned out to be a very important market for us in terms of the opportunities, technological advancements and adaptability of consumers towards these advancements. Printing industry has been growing at a significant pace majorly owing to evolving customer demands and increasing domestic demand from tier II & tier III cities amongst other drivers.

Canon has retained a market share of 21% in inkjet and on the other hand, the market the market share of Canon in the laser segment is 20%.

Increasing demand from the SMB segment as well as technological advancements in the printing methods are the key factors driving the India Document Printer market. With rapid growth in business, the dependence of several enterprises and SMEs on printers has amplified exponentially.

The emerging CISS segment in India is also a lucrative market for printing vendors. Therefore, Inkjet market is expected to grow at a higher pace than Laser market because of the Ink Tank printers. Aimed at meeting the requirements of low cost prints among varied set of consumers, the products have become very popular in the Indian market in terms of low cost of operation.

How is technology evolving in this market?

Evolving technology with cost effectiveness has led to an upsurge in number of start-ups and entrepreneurs in the country. Canon aims to becomes a partner of choice in their growth journey by fostering focus on their core business objectives and achieve operational efficiencies

The Indian printing industry is going through various technological advancements, majorly due to the evolving requirements of the customers. Consumers are becoming more tech savvy and with increased adoption of mobile phones by customers and their increasing online presence, we have witnessed a significant rise in the demand for Cloud-printing and Wi-Fi printing.

Canon has always been at the forefront of bringing next generation technology to the end customers. We believe in adapting with time and offering world-class technology innovations customized for our valuable customers.

Inkjet vs. laser: which one is growing and why?

Currently, the changing consumer landscape has led to both Inkjet and Laser category to offer distinguished applications to different customer segments. Inkjet is majorly inclined towards home users and also for business applications where organizations require high quality photo printing, graphic printing and where there is more use of color printing like advertising and graphic designing agencies.

Laser printers are largely used by SMBs, Government, SOHOs and large enterprises. Laser printers are for bulk printing and with new innovations and technology we are also witnessing color laser printers being used by organizations.

The choice of printer solely depends on usage requirements of the consumers and can also be defined by their printing infrastructure. According to recent IDC data, Inkjet market is expected to grow at a higher pace than Laser market because of the huge success of Ink Tank printers.

What key factors are changing the consumption pattern of consumers, enterprise and SMEs in the country?

From a technology perspective, the most important factor that is leading to evolving print requirements by customers would hugely revolve around Cloud Printing, Mobility, Internet of Things, Mass Customization and increased adaption of mobile devices.

We have observed a lot of interest among Indian consumers for our Canon PIXMA printers which has unique propositions to offer in terms of looks and design and excellent print quality that are attuned to the lifestyle of today’s consumers. Due to lowered running cost, smart-device connectivity in printers and Wi-Fi printers are rising and people at home are looking for these options in their Inkjet printers.

Low per page cost and price differential are also some other key factors influencing a shift in the preference of both the consumers as well as the enterprise segment. The printing domain is evolving (Inkjet technology) with Continuous Ink Supply System (CISS) acting as a catalyst to a niche market.

Which are the verticals you are targeting?

Along with catering to the rising requirements of home segments, we will continue to focus on government and enterprise business. Keeping up with the evolving trends in the consumer printing space, Canon has a vast portfolio of inkjet products like the PIXMA E-series, PIXMA MG-series keeping in mind the needs of the home segment, who are looking out for high quality affordable print solutions.

We will be extensively focusing on SMBs and SOHOs with our varied product portfolio of both inkjet and laser printers. With the MAXIFY range of inkjet printers and MF 200 series laser printers, we aim to simplify their printing infrastructure by improving productivity, save cost and be more efficient.

The introduction of Canon PIXMA G-series has also proved to be a game changer in the printing industry and we further aim to capture 30% market share in the segment by the end of 2016. The series caters to a defined segment of users that includes photo ID centers, copy shops and jobbers.

How much does the CSP division contribute (in terms of revenues) to the overall Canon India business? What are your expectations for this year?

The CSP division has contributed 24% to the overall Canon India business till March 2016. We have witnessed 124% growth in the sale of inkjet products.

We aim to achieve 25% market share in the Laser segment and 24% in the Inkjet segment by the end of 2018. We are bullish about Canon India’s growth in the Indian printer industry and we will be rolling out strategies and activities directed towards attaining our goals.

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