Category: Copiers/Printers

The types of printer and multifunction printer (MFP) supplies used in your organization can have a significant impact on cost as well as the effectiveness of your internal and external/customer communications. Before deciding on the appropriateness of your current supplies mix, it may be helpful to consider some norms around supplies use in North American businesses. This blog post will provide some key findings in this area.

Most popular supply types

Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends, a U.S.-based market research firm, conducts a wide range of primary research on print- and print supplies-related topics. This research has revealed that about half of North American businesses (comprising Canada, Mexico, and the United States) claim to be only using original equipment manufacturer (OEM) supplies for their B&W and color print devices. The results are similar for inkjet and laser-based products.

Which of the following best describes the type of toner cartridges your company uses in color laser printers/MFPs?
MFPS Printers
Source: Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends primary research

Breakdown of alternative brand supplies

Of those using non-OEM cartridges, respondents are fairly split on their use of alternative brand cartridge types. For example, when it comes to toner in the United States, 29% of these respondents use newly made compatibles (NMCs)/clones; another 29% use remanufactured cartridges; and 27% used refilled cartridges.

Most of the remaining respondents say they don’t know what type of cartridge they use (10%). This last stat is important: Organizations that do not know what type of alternative supplies they are using are more likely to overlook potential issues including the legality of the supplies. Alternative brand supplies—and NMCs in particular—may violate patents and trademarks in place by OEMs.

Perceived discount for alternative supplies

Generally speaking, alternative branded supplies are significantly cheaper than OEM supplies. Organizations surveyed by Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends were most likely to cite a discount of 20%-40%—both for alternative inkjet and toner supplies. A good chunk of respondents cited a discount of 50% (for toner, this represented 8% of respondents in Canada; 17% in Mexico; and 13% in the United States). While these products may deliver substantial cost savings to businesses, it’s important to evaluate whether any issues in areas like print quality and reliability are worth the lower cost.

For non-OEM toner cartridges, what do you estimate to be the typical discount from the price of an OEM toner cartridge?

Source: Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends primary research


About half of North American companies appear to be using OEM print supplies only; of those using alternative brand ink and toner, there’s a fairly even split among the supply types (i.e., newly made compatible/clone, refilled, and remanufactured). These statistics can help organizations start a conversation about their chosen type of supplies. It may be a good idea to evaluate whether another type of supply makes sense from a cost, print quality, reliability, “green,” and/or legality standpoint. For more information on the benefits of different supply types, speak with our office technology specialist.