The economics of a $17 printer

… seriously $17? What’s the catch?

I recently bought a printer in my local supermarket for $17 (GBP 12), it got me thinking about the economics of printers, specifically how printer manufacturers (and supermarkets) can sell a printer for less than 20 dollars. The simple fact is that at less than 20 dollars someone is making a loss. The bill of materials (build cost) of the printer and packaging is likely to approach or exceed $20. This is before you’ve added in marketing, support, IP licensing, transport, logistics, returns and everything else needed to sell a printer off-the-shelf in a supermarket. So what’s the catch? Well if you hadn’t already guessed – it’s the ink. The printer is a clear-as-day loss-leader for the printer manufacturer. At over $42 for replacement cartridges for the printer, the equation starts to balance out pretty quickly for the manufacturer. This is an extreme example with the ink being twice the price of the printer, but it is a great illustration of the economics at work in the printer industry today. At we’re working on innovative technology to SAVE YOU MONEY and to tip the balance of this equation in favor of the consumer – business, education or home user. Look out for product updates which will make your ink go further.

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