In what may be a dismaying sign for the industry we cover here, Citigroup recently announced that its employees must cut back on color copying and printing.
The world’s largest bank, suffering billions in losses from the real estate market, has been doing some furious cost cutting. They’ve laid off a host of employees, tightened up expense accounts, taken away Blackberries, and (shudder) demanded that employees use only black-and-white for internal reports and presentations. In addition, duplex copying and printing will be enforced.
The memo sent out from the company includes the following item: “The use of color copying and printing dramatically increases our copying and printing costs. Color presentations are unnecessary for internal purposes; therefore going forward color copying and printing should only be used for client presentations. Also whenever possible, presentations should be printed double sided to reduce unnecessary paper usage. Over time, we will be removing color copiers and printers from the locations where they are not essential for purposes of preparing client presentations.”
The big copier and printer companies have to be concerned. Color pages are now the mainstay of these companies, and a slowdown (or even a reversal) of growth in this area is going to hit hard.
Every survey has shown that most of the growth in the industry has been in color, and the vendors have been eagerly pushing the importance of color in getting the message across. And everyone knows that once color gets established, it tends to get used for everything, from memos to spreadsheets. But with color pages costing between four to eight times more than equivalent black-and-white in most cases, corporations like Citigroup are starting to perceive that while a little color is a great thing, a lot of color is an expensive luxury.
We suspect that the big companies in our industry are going to have rethink their marketing approach or their pricing schemes.