Future Growth Foreseen from Concept of Digital Classrooms: Epson

Also, families, especially those with school-going children, have more printing requirements

Samba Moorthy, VP of sales and marketing, Epson.

Epson has been looking to drive innovation and change in printing, visual communications. Now, its products are being embraced across segments. Samba Moorthy, VP of sales and marketing, Epson, explains how understanding the needs and requirements of the Indian consumer has helped Epson become the No. 1 brand. Excerpts from an interview:

BW CIO: How has Epson’s growth been so far in India?

Samba Moorthy: India has been one of our key markets. Over the last few years, we have witnessed a strong growth and have successfully created an excellent reach in the country through our established set of channel partners.

From our extremely successful InkTank printers for homes and offices, to our photo printers for commercial use, we have seen our products being embraced across segments. We see great demand for interactive projectors which are being widely used in educational institutions and data projectors which are used in offices. The home theatre segment is also gaining momentum and we expect to see more progress in this market in the coming years.

BW CIO: Please share Epson’s growth story, from being No. 3 to No. 1, in the printer category.

Samba Moorthy: Understanding the needs and requirements of the Indian consumer has helped Epson become the No. 1 brand in the Inkjet printer category. There was a desperate market need for low cost and affordable printing solutions. Consumers were simply fed up with having to pay exorbitant amounts for ink cartridges and consequently for each print as well as the maintenance cost of the printers.

We took a bold and daring move to completely change the dynamics of the printer market way back in 2011. We increased the price of the main unit and reduced the recurring or running cost to a negligible amount. Our InkTank printers guarantee a radical improvement in cost efficiency with per page prints which no other printer can offer. The refillable ink reduces cost of printing to just 7 paisa per page for black prints, and 18 paisa per page for colour.

Consumers loved the fact that printing had been made so inexpensive and almost immediately understood the value benefit to embrace the change.  We shifted all our erstwhile cartridge based models to InkTank printers within a year.

From penetrating into the three keys segments: commercial, home and office to rolling out an expansive range of InkTank printers, Epson moved with lightning speed. Competition was slow to respond and Epson had a free run of the market for five years. Competition is now attempting to penetrate the market with 1st generation InkTank printers of their own.

BW CIO: How did Epson become the leader in the projector category for the past few quarters, and how do you plan to sustain the growth?

Samba Moorthy: The driving force behind Epson’s rapid growth in India and across the world is Epson’s revolutionary and proprietary 3LCD technology which delivers up to three times higher colour brightness than leading competitive projectors. Epson’s 3LCD engine ensures that users get the highest possible colour light output from the light source, thereby enabling Epson projectors to deliver colour brightness as high as white brightness.

This results in bright and accurate images, and smooth projections. This has helped consolidate Epson as the No. 1 brand in the projector market both in India and worldwide. As per FutureSource Consulting, Epson has a market share of 27.6 percent In India and is the No. 1 brand.

Epson has been the No. 1 projector brand worldwide (for the last sixteen years), with a market share of close to 35.6 percent, and we have successfully increased our lead over other manufacturers year after year. We are focused on Innovation and are dedicated to exceeding the vision and the expectations of our customers worldwide, with products known for their superior quality, functions, compactness and energy efficiency.

Coupled with high quality performance, innovative features and technology advancements, our products elevate the user experience. Examples of this are the collaboration tools on our interactive projectors, 3LCD Reflective laser technology and 4K enhancement for state-of-the-art home theatre.

BW CIO: What is Epson’s plans to capture a larger market share in India?

Samba Moorthy: Epson intends to address the printing needs of home, commercial and office purposes whether it is low print volume or high print volume and make Inkjet InkTank Printers as the de facto technology replacing ink cartridges and laser technology in India.

We have been very successful in gaining a larger market share in the commercial segment. Our aim is to serve customers by offering better products with the lowest cost per page printing. We are now pushing our penetration levels in the home and office markets. The home and SOHO market account for 75 percent of the Inkjet market. Families, especially those with school going children, have more printing requirements.

They have realized the cost benefits of using InkTank printers as compared to a laser/cartridge based printing model. According to IDC, there has been a surge in this category of target audience and we are actively targeting such home users.

Secondly, we are shifting laser printer users in offices to Epson InkTank printers. Most of the laser printer users are using cheap refill toners to cut down cost per print by compromising on the print quality. After seeing the performance and benefits of Epson InkTank printers, many corporates have started replacing their laser printers with Epson InkTank printers.

The cost per print offered by a laser refill toner is still close to two times that of an Epson InkTank printer. If a consumer is using genuine laser toners, then the difference is magnified even further. Currently, the page yield is 6,000 per ink bottle as against 2,000 per laser toner.

InkTank printers also offer benefits like low power consumption, water and fade resistant prints and the highly reliable micro piezo print head, all making Epson Ink Tank printers the best choice for office printing. Hence, we see the shift from Laser to Inkjet gaining momentum. We will continue to develop the InkTank technology we pioneered & grow our range of InkTank printers (currently 17 models). We will continue to push the boundaries of low cost high quality printing.

For projectors, we see great potential in the education, corporate and SMB segment. The concept of digital classrooms, short throw and ultra-short throw interactive projectors will gain even further popularity this year. We also believe the home segment has the potential to grow in the coming years and have been making efforts to expand this market.

Epson also believes that laser light source projectors, recently introduced by Epson, will drive the projector growth in the near future. Epson has steadily increased its line-up of projectors and is continuing to invest heavily in developing technologies and products to meet those expanding needs.

BW CIO: What is Epson’s future growth plans for India?

Samba Moorthy: At Epson, we are looking to drive innovation and change in printing, visual communications, quality of life and manufacturing based on our core technologies. Our expertise and the source of our strength lie in technologies that save energy, time, and unnecessary labour. These technologies enable us to create products that are increasingly precise, accurate, and compact and, moreover, that have a reduced environmental footprint.

Our vision is to create a new connected age of people, things and information with efficient, compact and precision technologies.

We will grow by addressing all the printing needs of home, commercial and office whether low print volume or high print volume with InkTank Printers and make Inkjet Ink Tank Printers as the de facto technology replacing Ink Cartridge and Laser technology in India. For projectors, we believe there is great potential in the education, corporate and SMB segments.

We also foresee a lot of growth coming from the concept of digital classrooms, and anticipate that short-throw and ultra-short throw interactive projectors will gain popularity. In fact, Epson has, in recent years, steadily increased the line-up of projectors and is continuing to invest heavily in developing technologies and products to meet those expanding needs.

In addition to conventional printers, and projectors we expect robust growth from other product categories like billing printers (from retail), large format printers (from signage, textile etc.), and robots (from manufacturing).

We are looking at capturing a much larger market presence and to be the go-to brand for all printing solutions. We want to extend the best and most reliable products across all categories and would like everything to be printed on Epson.

Epson has 336 service centers, the largest service network across the country in the industry, which offers onsite support for customers. We also have six Express Service centers where a quick service is provided within one hour, aimed at addressing the growing customer demand for an ultra-quick and effective resolution. Further expansion of service network to support business will also be a key focus for Epson.

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