The evolution of printing: from papyrus to the wireless printer

Découvrez l'histoire de l'impression

Printing history

The printing market has changed since ancient times and the first forms of copying documents by hand. Over the centuries, the successive innovations in the area of printing contributed to the improvement of printing techniques. Many key people have helped develop and improve the printing market.

The beginnings of printing

Since the appearance of the first machines, in particular the emergence of microcomputers in the 70’s and 80’s, the printer has helped change the way we work. It has gradually become essential in the business world.

A market for office based printing has gradually developed, instigated by two different groups: The constructors such as HP, Epson, Lexmark alongside, the office suppliers such as Staples and the sellers of IT equipment like PC World. And on the other hand between two types of products – on the one side the printers – principally A4 and on the other side the photocopier, with its A3 capability.

In the 90’s and 2000’s, the market continued to grow, thanks to technical innovations, particularly colour printing, the networkable printer and the multifunction printer.

On the distribution side, the first online suppliers such as Amazon started evolving the world of printing by being more transparent, most notably on prices.

A disrupted printing market

Starting around 2010, following a spike in consumer’s ecological awareness and concerns, the printing market was stirred up somewhat. As a result, the digital world changed the printing habits of many businesses. The need for paper and the lack of technical evolution in printers led to lower sales of printers and printing supplies.

Despite the advantages offered by digital, paper printing is nowhere near extinct. Many businesses remain attached to the physical paper copy, while in other sectors, only original paper contracts will do. In line with the digital trend, businesses started looking to rationalise their printing capabilities, Businesses in general prefer the A3 format to be through a maintenance contract. This evolution brought about a closer link between theA3 and A4 market with both the constructors and distributors.

So while the market is shrinking, remains extremely competitive and without any major recent technological innovations, distributors are focusing on benefiting from the economies of scale.

Printing vs digital

In the digital era, our way of life is changing at work as well as on personal level and the online selling channels have shaken up the consumer habits.
Today, 80% of internet users search the web before buying, so a digital presence has become essential for all credible suppliers. The online players must have a new approach focused on price and volume to attract more sales and to help revolutionise the printing supplies market.

Through this digital transformation, machines have become more and more “connectable”. Printers are a key part of networked IT infrastructures and are capable of sending and receiving information as well as being remotely controllable. Business printers are now often supplied incorporating services linked to this connectivity. This includes the automatic replenishment of consumables, preventive maintenance, the remote repair of machines and subscription based services built around a cost per page. Ecoburotic has quickly adapted to the context and created new service offerings such as Print Essential, to become a real expert in the field of printing.

Contact our team of printing experts, free on 0800 028 3197 or on our online chat 🙂


The author Gabrielle