back to article Demand for HP printer supplies in free-fall – and Intel CPU shortages aren't helping either

Forget Intel's chip drought: an unforeseen collapse in demand for print supplies in EMEA is the bigger issue keeping HP Inc's management on their toes. The US biz last night outlined financials for its fiscal 2019 Q1, aka the three months to 31 January: group revenue was up just 1 per cent to $14.71bn, a marked downturn on the …

  1. James 51

    That's why you don't see more printers like the eco-tank. Ink is less than 1/10th the price of my previous printer.

    1. Jim Mitchell
      Thumb Up

      I've got an Eco-tank, definitely worth the higher up front costs for the cheap ink.

    2. rcxb Silver badge

      Ink sucks. Get a laser. Never look back.

      1. Mr Benny

        Lots of e-waste if you cant recycle the cartridge plus the cartridges are not cheap.

        1. alisonken1

          Laser cartridges end up being cheaper for me

          With what little printing I do at home, I would end up only using about 1/2 the ink before the ink dries and the cartridge becomes useless.

          For me, the laser cartridges end up being cheaper since the toner doesn't dry up over time and little use, so I end up using the whole laser toner.

          For example, the last toner cartridge I bought was at least 6 months ago, with an expected use of another 12-24 months before I need to look for another one.

      2. Schultz Silver badge

        Ink sucks? No,

        it blows out of the printer nozzle. Look it up.

        I slowly go through the 1/3 liter ink bottles I purchased 4 years ago. Unsurprisingly, black is going fastest with already some 50-100 mL gone. Works perfectly with the cheap non-HP ink cartridges that I hold as backup option.

        Seriously, who is buying the branded ink and toner? There is a factor 10 markup for both, my home HP ink and my office Samsung (now HP) toner. But then, I am a poor academic and maybe we just talk about irrelevant change for the average Corporate Man.

      3. usbac

        At home I made the transition many years ago. Here in our climate where the humidity runs around 10-15% a lot of the year, ink cartridges last about 3-6 months whether you use them or not.

        At one point I went to the local store to buy a set of ink cartridges, and found that the black/color combo was $59. That was the end for me with inkjet.

        I ordered a Dell color laser printer for $210 shipping included. It's been at least five years now, and I'm still on the original toners. And, since the printer is now five years old, I can get aftermarket toners for about $15 each.

      4. tcmonkey

        This. A thousand, nay, a million times this.

        I use a second hand HP business-class laser (a 4350). It cost me about A$150 from an office refurb place. The generic cartridge costs about $60 shipped and lasts for 25k pages. I've had the machine for years and am only on the first replacement.

        Sure it doesn't do colour, but for the 2 times a year when I need to do so I just go to the local library and print there.

        Just say no to inkjets.

  2. naive

    Hike up the price of Intel stuff

    And promote AMD based solutions ?.

  3. Detective Emil

    Instant Ink?

    I'm vaguely surprised to see no mention (good or bad) in the earnings call of HP's "Instant Ink" subscribe-for-supplies wheeze. As far as this European is concerned, it's yet another subscription I don't need. Maybe my compatriots think the same.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Instant Ink?

      I don't print things often enough to justify a subscription for supplies. Once or twice a year I spend less than $40 on another HP branded ink cartridge. And I can get them at Target which is about a mile away (or Walmart, if I happen to go there). But the printer is starting to show its age, envelopes are getting stuck and not printing properly (misaligned), the color cartridge is rarely used and I have to take it out and clean it with alcohol all of the time [because it gets clogged up], and so forth. It's always been kinda 'marginal', an all-in-one scanner/fax/copier type. Worked ok at first, then started being finicky within a year after I bought it.

      HP should consider looking at their QUALITY first, if they're concerned about lower sales trends.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        Re: Instant Ink?

        Unfortunately HP has not had any engineers in it for a very long time.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Instant Ink?

      Our small company uses Instant Ink. It's great... For us anyway. £4 a month for 150 sheets is about a third of our previous ink/toner needs. If you're doing serious amounts of printing, I don't know if it adds up.

      Of course since they buggered up our billing, our 3 months free got turned into £200 credit. So I've not bought any ink in nearly 2 years. Not sure that's enough on its own to take 1% off their sales though.

  4. adam payne Silver badge

    Weisler described print supplies as an "unexpected challenge". He said: "Supplies revenue was weaker than expected, particularly in EMEA [where] supplies declined 9 per cent."

    Maybe people are finally realising that printer supplies from HP are a rip off.

    1. EnviableOne Silver badge

      Most "compatable" cartriges are as good and 1/3 the price, why pay more, when now you're printing less often you have to clean the heads each time and use more.

      1. Tom 35

        But HP say...

        You get what you pay for, about 50 times a day in their ad. I bet they spend more on ads then the ink they sell.

      2. PeterGriffin

        Not always. Back when I repaired HP printers, issues with colour calibration, print glitches or poor print quality were in all but one case caused by third party colour toner cartridges.

        1. eldakka Silver badge

          If you are printing in a situation where colour accuracy actually matters, you'll be using $10k+ printers anyway, because you are earning revenue from the printing, in which case it'd make sense to use the vendor-supplied or approved colour-accurate toner.

          If you are adding a bit of colour to a printed power-point presentation for intra-office use, does it really matter if the accuracy is off?

          1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

            I do not about 10K but you are not using your typical SOHO printer for 'photo' printing. Plus you are probably using special paper not ordinary copy paper. Or you are going somewhere that has both the 'photo' printer and paper. Either way the per page cost is much higher.

  5. theblackhand Silver badge


    2019 - the year of the paperless office

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Finally....

      Or, you know, the cash-less office.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Finally....

        The office-less office?

        1. Mike Lewis

          Re: Finally....

          That's called "working from home".

          1. eldakka Silver badge

            Re: Finally....

            Or AI actually becomes intelligent and it does all the work.

      2. FozzyBear

        Re: Finally....

        still waiting for the boss-less office

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Finally....

      Nope. Too early for the paperless office. We'll get the paperless toilet first.

      1. JustWondering

        Re: Finally....

        They don't already have paperless toilets in Japan?

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Finally....

          And in the UK too - what you're looking for is a bidet toilet seat :)

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Finally....

      You may jest, but....

      Printing in our organisation was increasing by about 10% per year, every year.

      About 6 years ago it levelled out for a couple of years and then started falling rapidly.

      We're now down to 2004 levels

      And this is _despite_ some groups increasing their print output due to legal requirements for hardcopy they didn't previously have.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get stuffed HP, I bought a Brother colour laser and have never looked back thanks to cheap alternative suppliers of toner rather than your ink which is even more expensive that botulism toxin*

    As for intel CPU shortages, we've heard enough of that nonsense from Apple over the years and besides there's a good supply of competitive AMD cpu's available at attractive prices now.

    *For those that don't know I believe botulism toxin to be the most expensive thing on Earth by weight, after HP ink.

    1. Norman Nescio

      Most expensive thing on earth, by weight?

      *For those that don't know I believe botulism toxin to be the most expensive thing on Earth by weight, after HP ink.

      Botox is supplied in 100 unit vials, but the unit is defined by biological activity, so somebody had to go off an measure by other means just how much of the botulinum toxin there is in a vial of Botox.

      The answer is here: Content of Botulinum Neurotoxin in Botox®/Vistabel®, Dysport®/Azzalure®, and Xeomin®/Bocouture® - Drugs R D. 2010 Jul; 10(2): 67–73.

      Results: Overall, the mean concentration of BoNT/A neurotoxin in Botox® was 0.73 ng per 100 unit vial (coefficient of variation [CV] = 3.5%)

      Cost price of Botox is about 550 USD per 100 units, so if there is 0.73 nanograms per 100 units, that's about 550 USD per 0.73 nanograms, or roughly 750,000 million USD per gram.

      Fairly high up on the scoreboard for the most expensive stuff by weight would be the Technetium isotope Technetium-99m used in medical imaging, which has a very short half-life of about 6 hours. As a result, it is produced on site from generators from a slightly more stable radioactive element, Molybdenum-99 (half-life of about 66 hours). These generators are sometimes called 'moly-cows' because they are 'milked' for Technetium-99m.

      The molybdenum-99 used in the generators is priced at (only) about $46 million per gram - or roughly 4.6 US cents per nanogram.

      National Research Council (US) Committee on Medical Isotope Production Without Highly Enriched Uranium. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2009. Chapter 6 - Molybdenum-99/Technetium-99m Production Costs

      At the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) conference in Sydney in December 2007, a representative of ANSTO informed the participants that a gram of Mo-99 was “worth” (i.e., could be sold for) about $46 million. Assuming a specific activity for Mo-99 of 4.8 × 105 Ci/g, a curie of Mo-99 is worth about $96 and a 6-day curie is worth about $470. This selling price is just over twice the average cost of production that was estimated by the committee.

      1. Schultz Silver badge

        How much botulinum toxin there is in a vial of Botox?

        And how much pigment is there in a cartridge of ink? Apples and Oranges, ...

    2. darlingimp

      Brother laser ...

      >> ... bought a Brother colour laser and have never looked back

      I'm still using a Brother laser (HL10) that I bought probably 20 years ago (or more). I do print a few pages a day and it must be 2-3 years (maybe more) since I last changed the cartridge.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Two years ago... HP laser jet said it was low on supplies. And guess what? It's still printing just fine. Seriously.

    So f**k you HP. F**k you to hell.

    1. sprograms

      Re: Two years ago...

      I've had the same experience. My LaserJet Pro M203 printer has been indicating "low toner" for more than four months. I print a fairly large volume per month. The print is still fully black.

      1. John 104

        Re: Two years ago...

        I played the same game with a previous HP laser. Eventually the drums got so dirty that it stopped printing anything legible.

        I do still use HP and have a nice desktop color laser. Slightly more expensive to buy than the near give away toner printers, but the cost per page is less than a penny. And, yes, if HP would lower their prices for their toner, they'd do a lot better. I use the Green branded stuff off of Amazon and can get a full load out for slightly more than a single cartridge cost from HP. SO glad lexmark lost that lawsuit!

  8. martinusher Silver badge

    You can't keep selling ink at such ridiculous prices and expect people to keep paying

    Quite apart from people not printing as much as they used to, there's just no need for hard copy, HP ink prices are so high that it was only a matter of time before people found alternatives. I've given up on ink-jet printers because the miserly amount of ink you get in a cartridge dries out if you don't print regularly. I'll just use a laser for the occasional print jobs and leave it at that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You can't keep selling ink at such ridiculous prices and expect people to keep paying

      I used to keep telling my kids: Tell your friends to buy HP Ink. It's putting you through college.

  9. Tom 35

    They need more suckers

    You can only sell someone a $39 printer with $79 ink so many times.

  10. Mr Pig
    Thumb Down


    Agree with prices. I bought a new A3 colour laser.

    A set of OEM replacement toner cost more than the original printer!!

    1. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge

      Re: WTF!

      Hardware revenue was boosted in the past because people realised it was cheaper to buy another printer than replace the ink.

      3rd party ink is now cutting into this significantly.

      Another HP Colour LaserJet user with 3rd party toner. :-)

  11. PaulCharlton

    Did Jessie Smollet program your printer?

    I have an HP Inkyjet. An OfficeJet Pro 8740. And the three color cartridges rather mysteriously "ran out of ink" and refused to print any more pages until they were replaced, all on the same day. What are the odds? The same day? All three?

    Here's a hint to the boffins at HP Inc: if you want to program peoples' printers to force them to buy more ink even when there is ink still in the cartridge, then you should be far more subtle with your programing. Make them become "empty" with at least one day after the other. And do it in the last month of the quarter.

  12. Funkymunky

    Printing? Whats that?

    I use a Kyocera B&W wifi enabled laser I bought from Amazon for under £30 new 2 years ago - not needed a cartridge yet. I'd probably be as well chucking the printer away and buying another cheapo one when it finally runs out (might be in a pine box by then). Wife prints a load more than me as she is a teacher and produces stuff for classes. So her old Brother all-in-1 laser gets 3rd party toner cheap from Amazon, usually 2-3 cartridges a year.

    My work decided to move to "Multifunction Devices" aka photocopiers for all printing 5 years ago, to do away with the 600+ printers on site. They spoke of forcibly removing all printers in one day. I managed to get them to agree to leave the printers but ban toner sales, that way we would use up the already purchased small toner mountain. It was just a coincidence, of course, that I had laid in apocalypse level supplies for my desktop HP CP2025. It is still merrily printing away, must be 10 yrs old now. Only 3 full sets of toner left now...yikes...

  13. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Intel CPU shortages?

    But that doesn't explain why they've been shoving seriously SLOW M.2 nvme drives in their desktop systems at premium pricing - as in _significantly_ slower than claimed and slower than an old Samsung 840Pro - which would be OK if it wasn't at a 100% higher cost than the _retail_ cost of gumsticks with similar performance stats.

    Funny how they run and hide when called on it though - and how they refuse point blank to tell you what drive they ship with systems (there's just a murky spec on the website, which means they can ship anything - and they do)

    This earnings call might explain why they've been playing artful dodger, but they've lost a few hundred thousand pounds of sales as a result. (with any luck others will take note and stay away too)

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