Home printers – refilled or original? [TUPdate]

Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, MetaFacts, March 19, 2018


When consumers buy a home printer, they’re also buying ink for as long as they use their printer. HP has the lowest rate of US consumers using refilled ink. Of the major brands, HP has the lowest share – 16%, while Brother and Dell have the highest share, 37%. Over the last two years, this refill share has only slightly wavered.

This is based on the most recent wave of TUP/Technology User Profile, the 2017 edition.
The majority of HP’s home printer customers are using HP’s ink, and only 7% are using a replacement brand such as Office Depot or Staples.

Similarly, most of Epson and Canon’s ink is their own brand, making up two-thirds of home printer users.

Outside of the US, the picture is somewhat similar.

The majority of ink being used in HP printers is HP-branded, at a rate that is being closely trailed by Dell. While the US original-ink rate is strongest in the US for most major home printer brands, this rate is lower in nearly every country in the TUP 2017 survey: China, India, and Germany.

Brother’s original-ink share is nearly as strong in India as it is in the US, at just under one-half of home printers.

Who are the refillers?

Refillers around the world are younger than those who buy original ink – whether the same brand as the printer or a competitive offering. While the average (mean) age of adults who use refills in their home printers is 36, the age of original ink users is 41, a full five years older. Those using competitive ink are yet again another 4 years older.

There’s also a difference in choice of ink with respect to employment status.

Those using refilled ink include a higher share of employed or self-employed adults than those using original ink. Those using competitive ink are less likely to be employed outside the home than those using original ink.

Related research results

MetaFacts TUP/Technology User Profile includes extensive printer-related information: printer usage volume, actively used printer features, printer activities, wireless printing, high-capacity, subscription ink, and more.

About TUPdates

The information in this TUPdate is based on a survey of online adults in mid-2017 as part of the MetaFacts TUP/Technology User Profile study.

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