How Smartphones and Tablets Are Changing the Way Users Print, Scan, and Manage Documents


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Driven by an explosion of smartphones and tablets, the landscape for printing, scanning, and document management is in the midst of profound and significant change. According to new global research covering six countries across three major regions from International Data Corporation (IDC), the mobile opportunity for document solutions continues to grow as organizations adopt mobile devices at a fevered pace. Large and medium companies are leading the charge, accounting for 54% of smartphone and/or tablet users. Additionally, six vertical markets stand out as having a statistically higher percentage of smartphone and tablet users: Information Technology, Wholesale Trade, Banking, Life Sciences, Resource Industries, and Securities.

"The business value for smartphone/tablet printing is enormously clear, and yet support for this is shockingly lacking in 2015. This is a huge missed productivity opportunity for both businesses and print providers," said Angèle Boyd, Group Vice President and General Manager, IDC Document Solutions.

A whopping 75% of users say the business value is similar to PC printing, and another 15% say it's actually greater. The top four benefits mentioned by 32-57% of respondents were speed of reviewing documents, customer satisfaction, the number of transactions processed, and the number of new customers brought on board. Only 56% of users are satisfied. While smartphone and tablet adoption rates continue to grow and the capabilities are available, the pent-up demand for smartphone and/or tablet users is significant. Thirty-five percent of smartphone users and 34% of tablet users cannot print and want to.

Additional findings from IDC's research include the following:

  • Smartphone and tablet users prefer to read documents on a PC rather than in print, but they prefer to read documents in print rather than on a smartphone or tablet (likely due to screen size). Indeed, they have a greater tendency to print from their PC than non-users.
  • Survey respondents expect their share of prints from smartphones and tablets to increase from 20-21% today to 28-30% in three years.
  • IDC's mobile print forecast for the six countries is a huge bright spot with double-digit growth compared to flat to declining growth for the rest of the print market.
  • Cloud file services and smartphone/tablet camera use have the highest usage rates amongst document solutions tested.
  • Top scan drivers in the study include the company is scanning more documents, cost to store electronically is lower than print cost, security related to documents, green/sustainable environment, smartphone information access anywhere/anytime, and tablet information access anywhere/anytime.
  • Smartphone and/or tablet users make significant use of the camera on their device for document capture.
  • Smartphone/tablet users are more likely than non-users to scan a wide range of document types, especially accounting, financial, legal, education, marketing/customer communications, and sales documents.

The IDC multiclient study, Mobile Device Users/Non-Users: Print, Scan, Document Management, Worldwide, examines printing, scanning and document management among smartphone and tablet end users and a control group of non-users to provide a comparison of usage and attitudes. The study is based on results from a Web survey conducted in six countries (U.S., Brazil, U.K., Germany, Australia and China). The surveys were fielded from March to June 2015 (varied by country). There were 22,041 end users screened to collect incidence of tablets and smartphones among all business sizes (

To order this research, please contact your IDC sales representative, or IDC Sales at 508-988-7988 or sales@idc.com.

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,100 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC's analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. To learn more about IDC, please visit www.idc.com.

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