BRITAIN'S HOME WORKERS BOOST BROTHER PROFITS
The surge in home working among UK small businesses and corporate employees has helped electronics giant, Brother, to more than double its revenues from all-in-one business machines.
Manchester-based Brother UKs annual figures for all-in-one products - those which combine print, copy, scan and fax functions - support the overall market view that all-in-one products are now the fastest growing in the print peripherals market. Latest statistics showed a total market growth of more than 100 per cent, year on year .
Sales of all-in-one machines accounted for more than £10m of Brother UKs overall £86m turnover during the last financial year - an increase in unit sales of 72 per cent.
The upturn in all-in-one sales has caused the companys managing director, Hiroshi Suzuki, to forecast 50 per cent growth in Brothers all-in-one business this year, against a market growth prediction of 25.8 per cent .
Hiroshi Suzuki, says: 2003 will go down as the year when computer users began to see real value in combined office machines.
While stand-alone products will continue to sell well, I believe that they are beginning to share some of the limelight with multi-function devices.
With an increasing number of people working at home, there is a new demand for affordable and convenient equipment that provides the quality of performance they have come to expect from stand-alone machines, such as printers.
Self-employed people and company staff who are working more flexibly need to replicate fully-functional office facilities at home.
Recent figures from Datamonitor show that almost 25 per cent of the UK workforce is spending some or all of their working week at home. This figure is predicted to increase by 26 per cent to 8.2 million people by 2005 .
Suzuki continues: Our experience as early innovators in this type of technology, and capitalising on the home working trend in the US market, has helped us to grow this segment of our business in the UK.
High street names in electronics retail are now taking seriously the development of all-in-one business machines, and as consumer demand has risen they have increased the range of options on their shelves.
In addition to the home working market, Brother is predicting an increased use of all-in-one machine in corporate offices, based upon evidence among some of its major corporate customers.
Overall turnover for the companys business machines division - which includes printer, fax, all-in-one and labelling machines - totalled £76m, against £71.5m in 2002, with a profit increase of more than three per cent.
Total Brother UK profits - including its sewing machine division - reached £3.5 million.
Brother is also aiming to generate growth by tapping into the green pound. The company has developed six all-in-one products and three laser printers that have passed the environmental standard, TCO 99.
Suzuki adds: Building environmental and recycling considerations into our engineering process from day one provides companies with an opportunity to demonstrate corporate social responsibility and help the long-term sustainability of the environment.
Having TCO 99 accredited products also prepares them well for the forthcoming challenges of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive (WEEE), whereby easily-recyclable equipment will be a major benefit.
Ends 18 Feb 04
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Home comforts - Hiroshi Suzuki, Brother UK's managing director, takes his work home with the help of an all-in-one business machine, combining print, copy, scan and fax functions.
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