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By Timothy Thomas, national sales manager at Epson South Africa

When ink tank technology was first introduced by Epson in 2014, the claim that it would one day become the preferred printing technology of the future was met with raised eyebrows. Critics within and outside of the global printing industry were concerned that consumer interest in this new technology would be cripplingly slow, considering its higher initial retail price compared to traditional cartridge printers. 

At the time, consumers were cautious about printing too much due to the high costs associated with replacing ink cartridges, as well as printer maintenance and repair, and those habits weren’t going to change overnight. Meanwhile, the rest of the world’s biggest names in printing continued to drive their cartridge and laser printing solutions. 

Fast-forward to 2019, when ink tank sales are booming and, according to a GFK study, the Continuous Ink Supply System (CISS)/ Ink Tank Solutions (ITS) segment grew by 166% in volume and 162% in value for the 2017-2018 financial period. In South Africa, the market has grown from less than 1000 unit sales per month just a year and a half ago to over 5000 units monthly now – a clear indication that consumers are adopting ink tank technology at a rapid rate. 

Why the sudden explosion in the market?

While ink tank printers were initially more expensive than their conventional cartridge-based counterparts, the fact that they are environmentally friendly, far more cost-effective over time and can be refilled with low-cost bottles of ink is appealing for consumers.

For example, Epson’s latest range of EcoTank printers include three years worth of ink1, and can print over 14,000 pages in black and 11,200 in colour from just one ink tank2, saving consumers up to 90% on what they would have previously paid for ink refills. 

The appeal of ink tank technology created an influx of similar products in the market, boosting the development of the segment on a global scale. This evolution paved the way for improvements in the design and performance of the ink tank printers we have today, and led to this calibre of printers becoming widely more accessible than they were five years ago.


The future’s bright for ink tank tech

The growth of ink tank technology has changed the face of the printing industry for the better, and has consumers talking about printing again.

The technology now means that printers are no longer the grudge purchases they once were. Ink tank printers cost less to maintain and repair, because they eliminate the need to constantly replace ink cartridges – a process that can causes damaging wear and tear.

Consumer awareness continues to grow as ink tank printing technology becomes more accessible, which is why the ink tank market has exploded the way it has.

Epson’s high-capacity ink tank printers achieving cumulative global sales of 40 million units is a clear indication of the rapid growth of ink tank technology. The ink tank industry continues to exceed expectations as the shackles of high-cost printing are increasingly lifted and more users start to realise the benefits of switching over to a greener and more cost-efficient way to print.

Find out more about Epson – rated the world’s number one brand in ink tank solutions – and its third generation EcoTank printer range at www.epson.co.za.