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HP still reigns over "crown jewel"

Hewlett-Packard's reign over the printer market continues, according to a report from research firm IDC.

Hewlett-Packard's reign over the printer market continues, according to a report from research firm IDC.

HP announced on Thursday that it remains the market-share leader in the overall printer market in the United States and its influence is growing. IDC said in a report that in the second quarter, HP expanded its share in the overall market by 5 percent to just under 50 percent--its highest market share in five quarters.

While the overall market suffered slightly in terms of shipments, HP was able to increase its market share because of its history of being a leading printer company. Printer shipments declined 8 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago and 19 percent compared to the first quarter.

Printers have been acknowledged as the "crown jewel" of HP's numerous businesses that include PCs and digital cameras.

"It's been a tough market but HP is the leading brand, and in this sort of environment the leading brand usually benefits," said Riley McNulty, an analyst with IDC.

Lexmark had the second largest share of the market with around 18 percent, followed by Epson and Canon. A year ago, the top four companies had an 86 percent share of the market and this year that grew to around 95 percent.

"The smaller guys lost out here and there," said Claudio Checchia, a research manager with IDC.

HP managed to grow its market share in the inkjet printer market, which is primarily targeted at consumers and represents about 75 percent of the shipments in the overall printer market. While shipments in the inkjet printer market declined 23 percent, HP grew its shipments from 43 percent to 46 percent.

The monochrome laser printer market is targeted at the corporate world and accounts for 18 percent of the overall printer market. HP was particularly strong in this sector, picking up the bulk of its share from its competitors.

"The printer market is all about consumable sales, and in the corporate market page volumes are very high," said McNulty. "And page volumes drive consumable sales."