In a refreshing piece of marketing research released by Lexmark (NYSE LXK), health care professionals they studied "rely on basic black and white" printing, over color output. (See "Lexmark research shows printing is black and white for most health care professionals".) The health care professionals studied were in the US, UK, and France, and their mix of print jobs favors text documents (52 percent), forms and records (26 percent), short reports (26 percent), and invoices and purchase orders (21 percent). They place a premium on print speed and ease of use, but for these jobs, apparently black and white does just fine. Color usage was either "outsourced" or "incidental".
For the second time in a week, a printer vendor has surprised me with an action that breaks set, even while brimming with common sense! Last week it was Xerox teaming up with GreenPrint, the software that allows users to print LESS, and now Lexmark touting the importance of old-school monochrome laser printing in an important and growing sector of the global economy.
My expectations on commissioned research studies might have to be reset a bit. I've pointed out in the past that companies releasing the results of their own marketing research (see "Research on economics of small business printing") seem to always come up with results consistent with their marketing strategy. One would guess these days that generally involves rolling over customers' installed base of monochrome laser printers to new color models. Maybe at least Lexmark is seeing a healthy future for faster and easier-to-use monochrome printers!