2021 Was a Great Year for Scanners
Scanner revenue and scanner shipments are up
For obvious reasons, 2020 wasn’t a very good year for the document scanner industry. According to Keypoint Intelligence’s North America Document Image Scanner Market Placements 2020 - Full Forecast, overall placements were flat, while overall revenues fell by 8%. But in 2021, the market rebounded, crushing our expectations. According to Keypoint Intelligence’s 2021 North American Document Image Scanner Market Forecast, overall placements grew by 10% and overall revenues climbed by 7% year-over-year (YOY). In fact, every segment that Keypoint Intelligence tracks experienced growth, save for the mid-volume production segment.
What’s Fueling Growth in the Document Scanner Market?
According to Keypoint Intelligence’s 2021 The Future of Office Survey—US Edition, two-thirds of those surveyed reported that they worked remotely at least part time. As a result, 80% of businesses accelerated their move towards digitization of processes, and 54% of businesses implemented or increased the usage of their own cloud storage/sharing solutions in response to the pandemic.
But just because they’ve digitized processes, doesn’t mean that they’ve eliminated paper from the equation. Instead, they created an intersection where paper documents cross paths with digital processes. The result is that 72% of workers were sent home with a scanner, and 54% reported increased scan volumes while working remotely. In other words, the hybrid workplace—and the ensuing acceleration of digitizing document processes to support the hybrid workplace—increased demand for scanners, driving scanner placements and scanner revenues.
Another factor to consider (albeit less impactful than the hybridization of the workplace and digitization of business processes) is that businesses aren’t jazzed with the idea of shared devices. 59% of respondents said that they will reduce the maximum number of people sharing devices, and 50% said they will use more desktop devices rather than sharing to mitigate the spread of disease. While this isn’t going to drive growth like the hybridization and digitization of the workplace did, it certainly contributed.
Keypoint Intelligence Opinion
While hybridization and accelerated digitization of businesses are driving demand for scanners now, both trends—digitization in particular—will ultimately drive the demand for scanners down. As I noted above, digitized processes don’t mean they’re paperless processes. There aren’t many (if any) paperless offices, but there is no shortage of “less-paper” offices. You might have digitized the way you process invoices, for example, but what if the vendors you work with still use paper to send invoices? Obviously, the scanner is the least expensive and most efficient way to managing that process…for now.
We’re approaching the point where there won’t be much paper at all. Many companies are still in the early stages of digitizing their business. They are targeting core processes and those that require a lot of time and energy from humans to manage. Non-critical tasks—or those that don’t occur at a high volume—will still be carried out in paper. But we are also approaching a point in time when digitization of processes means that most documents will be born digital and remain so for their entire lifetime. The ones that aren’t being targeted for digitization at this moment won’t require a piece of hardware to translate paper documents into the 1s and 0s that computers can understand. It’s a matter of time before the business that is sending you paper invoices today, will start to send you digital ones in the future.
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