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IDC Analysis of Tablet and Smartphone Users Debunks Printing, Scanning, and Document Management Myths

The explosion of smartphone and tablet adoption will impact printing, scanning, document management, and print volumes in surprising ways over the next five years. According to a new International Data Corporation (IDC) survey of 800 unique respondents, smartphone and tablet users – whom the survey found to be younger, more likely male, have higher incomes, and increasingly hectic travel schedules – are surprisingly more likely than non-users to drive print. Smartphone and tablet users are more likely than non-users to print 16 of 20 business applications from their PCs.

The share of users printing from their smartphones and tablets will increase dramatically if users have their way, and the need to enable print and educate users how to print is clear. The percentage of users who printed from their mobile devices increased dramatically in 2012, and the percentage of those who do not print, and do not want to print, will decline from almost 50% in 2012 to just 25% in 2015 according to respondents. However, a large percentage of smartphone and tablet users do not know how to print from their devices, and a large share say their company has not yet enabled mobile printing.

While smartphones and tablets are most typically used for viewing materials on the screen, user attitudes indicate that printing from these devices will become more popular throughout the forecast period. Expanding travel demands, access to color printing, and corporate requirements to print certain documents are driving printing from tablets and smartphones both in the office and on the road.

Smartphone and tablet users will continue to more positively impact print volume in the 5-year outlook when compared to non-users. "While total U.S. mobile pages are expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 12% during the 2012-16 forecast period, non-mobile pages will decline 5%," said Angèle Boyd, Group VP and General Manager, Imaging/Output Document Solutions at IDC. Laser MFPs and inkjets are forecast to benefit the most from mobile printing.

Additional findings from the IDC survey include the following:

  • A higher percentage of tablet users than smartphone users can’t print but want to
  • Smartphone and tablet users at large and medium companies print more applications more frequently than their small company counterparts
  • Business-use smartphone/tablet users are more likely than their personal-use counterparts to print, and to have an interest in printing
  • Most consumer applications are cited as having flat print volume, but photo and coupon printing are increasing, while newspapers/magazines, explanation of benefits, event tickets, games, airline boarding passes, and flight itineraries are decreasing
  • Three mobile print services dominate at small companies whereas at large companies, a greater variety of mobile print services are cited more often
  • A smartphone or tablet camera for document capture, and cloud file services (e.g., Dropbox) are used by more smartphone and tablet users than mobile scanners, and mobile printing services
  • Smartphone and tablet users are more likely than non-users to scan most applications examined

IDC’s recently completed multiclient study, Mobile Device Users vs. Non-Users: Print, Scan, Document Management, examines printing, scanning, and document management opportunities and challenges by company size and print location among smartphone and tablet users as well as a control group of non-users. The study is based on a Web survey conducted from mid-October 2012 to mid-November 2012. Just over 19,000 end-users in the U.S. were screened to collect incidence of tablet and smartphone use by business size (<100, 100-999, and 1000+ employees) and consumers. From this group, 800 were randomly selected to answer the detailed survey.

To purchase this study, please contact IDC Sales at 508-988-7988 or [email protected].

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. For more than 48 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world’s leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting

All product and company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

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