Customers who closely followed printer and copier sales during 2019 have also likely noticed a significant trend: Americans in general utilize less paper per capita than they did a few years ago in business settings. Analysts suggest a number of reasons underlie this change. Just consider four possible reasons for the drop in paper consumption:
One: The Rising Popularity of Managed Print Services
The recent rapid growth in managed print services (“MPS”) contributes to a reduction in paper usage in many places. The use of MPS helps curtail high costs associated with printing. By preventing needless duplication, this process helps conserve company budgets. It also enables environmentally sensitive enterprises to avoid waste. By implementing managed print services, many firms have significantly reduced their need to purchase paper for copying purposes.
Two: More Distance Workers
Additionally, today a growing number of companies hire remote workers. This long-distance work force typically submits projects using the Internet. Instead of relying upon inefficient “snail mail” services and hard copies, more employees and independent contractors submit digital products for an employer’s review in a virtual format. This trend helps make the needless reproduction of printed pages unnecessary. It ultimately contributes to a reduction in office paper usage.
Three: New Digital Image Capabilities
Analysts also point to recent enhanced photographic capabilities resulting from the widespread adoption of mobile technology. Today, most smart phones, tablets, and laptops include one (or more) cameras. People wielding these devices readily snap digital images and transmit them in a virtual form to social media sites. They don’t need to expend money reproducing snapshots in a “hard copy” form on a printer. Instead they post digital photos or videos. Flourishing social media sites that display extensive images (like Instagram, Tik Tok, YouTube, and Pinterest) testify to the popularity of this approach.
Four: Demographic Changes
Finally, to some extent generational changes in the current U.S. labor market may account for the drop in paper use in many office environments. While most older workers rely on paperwork extensively, younger demographic groups grew up in cyber space. They tend instead to depend less upon copies of documents and more on software programs. Some observers note Gen X and Gen Z maintain clear, clutter free desks compared with Baby Boomers and the rapidly disappearing “Greatest Generation”. Millennials often fall midway between these two extremes.