By Petr Kramerius, Regional Manager at Infosource
UKRAINE’s DIVERSE ECONOMY
Before the conflict, Ukraine boasted a diverse economy with strengths in various sectors. While it was known as the industrial base of the Soviet Union, agriculture played a significant role as well. Ukraine earned its reputation as the ‘breadbasket of Europe,” being a major producer and exporter of agricultural products, including sunflower oil, grain, sugar, nuts and is one of the world’s largest honey producers. The nation also stood as a powerhouse in corn production and export. Furthermore, Ukraine’s technology flourished, with a substantial number of IT professionals and a growing software development industry.
In 2015, the European Union became Ukraine’s largest trading partner, shifting the dynamics of its trade relationships. Food and agriculture products, metallurgy, and machinery were the primary drivers of Ukraine’s exports, contributing to the nation’s impressive export figures, reaching $68.24 billion in 2021.
THE IMPACT OF WAR
The ongoing conflict has left Ukraine at a crossroads, with the population split between those adopting a positive outlook and others facing the challenges with a more negative attitude. The allocation of taxes and funds from the European Union towards military efforts has hindered economic growth, resulting in stagnation.
The war’s impact was initially widespread, with active ground operations and air strikes causing immense challenges. However, Ukrainians and businesses started recovering from the initial shock. Some displaced people returned, and the economy adapted to the conflict, new sectores of the economy were created that focuses on supporting the armed forces. Currently, the war is confined to specific regions.
The banking system was strong and operated without functional limitations during conflict. Capital outflow was stopped, a new fixed exchange rate was implemented, and several other necessary financial anti-crisis measures were implemented. Almost all banks, not only the systematically important banks, continued operations. It was a significant advantage for Ukraine. Thanks to this, there was financial and payment support for the economy, which remained fully operational.
However, the war led to a collapse in Ukraine’s foreign trade, primarily due to the blockade of Ukraine’s ports on the Black and Azov Seas, which preciously accounted for approximately 70% of external trade. Consequently, exports fell by 50% and imports by up to 71% compared to the same month in the previous year.
PRINTING MARKET STATS
As the 6th largest market in Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), the Ukrainian market started to register growth in H1 2023, despite the ongoing war with Russia. However, in most segments, these trends do not indicatel a return to a normally functioning market.
The total Toner-based multifunction printers (MFPs) increased by 55% to approximately 28,000 units. In H1 2021, prior to the war, the total market was 49,000 units, and in H1 2022, 18 000 units.
The total personal MFP category registered an increase of 38%, while the BW personal MFP market was up 19% and represented an 85% share of the total personal category. During the same period, the personal color market increased to approx. 3,000 units. Regarding brands, in the total personal MFP market, it is necessary to stress that at present, the Ukrainian market is not a normal functioning market, and individual brands in some quarters may sell almost nothing, while in other quarters, thousands of units. This is due to distribution issues within the war territory and ad hoc demand. However, in H1 2023, Canon took the leading market position with a 58.8% share, followed by HP with a 23.2% share and Xerox with a 17.7% share, as the remaining brands temporarily stopped their activities in the market.
On the other hand, the total office market sales were around 6,500 units and represented a 23% share of the total MFP market. Interestingly, before the war in H1 2021, there were 4,700 units. The BW office MFPs represented an 86% share of the total office market, and its sales reached 5 500 units, while the color office market dropped 56%. Xerox was number one within the entire office market, followed by Canon and Kyocera.
The total toner-based single-function page printer market (for comparison, proportionally 32% of the total toner-based MFP market) registered an increase of 43% to approximately 9,000 units (in H1 2021 before the war, there were around 17,000 units). The BW SFP market increased by 47%, representing a 94% share of the total SFP sales. The color SFP category registered an increase of just 1%. Regarding brands, Xerox improved from No. 3 to No.1, followed by HP, Canon and Kyocera. The Ukrainian inkjet market registered an increase of 28% to approximately 34,000 units, for comparison with the standard market level, in H1 2021, there were around 230,000 units. The inkjet MFP increased by 27%, SFP by 36%, and inkjet CISS (ink tank) devices by 5%.
The total Large format printer market in Ukraine was up 143% in H1 2023 due to a boost in sales of small water-based devices. Solvent became the main ink type category instead of the water-based segment.
Regarding the Document scanners (graph below), this market has increased 121% in H1 2023 to approximately. 600 units, a level similar to the level recorded in H1 2021. As for the Consumer scanners, this category increased to around 900 units. However, in H1 2021, 2 800 units were registered. Canon was the No. 1 brand in the Document scanner category with a 62.2% share and Consumer scanners with a 68.2% share.
The impact of the ongoing war on Ukraine’s has disastrously impacted the country’s economy. GDP has fallen by approximately a third, and material losses due to the destruction of infrastructure have exceeded US$100 billion and are rising every day. The high inflation rate, the weakened currency and the very high unemployment rate are taking an increasing toll on Ukrainian society. The country’s functioning, including the disbursement of social benefits, salaries and pensions, depends almost entirely on foreign financial assistance. Even though international support for Ukraine remains ongoing, it is insufficient, forcing the government to increase public debt radically. Despite some positive trends, such as increased exports (in particular agricultural goods) and the stabilised fuels market, no substantial improvement in the economic situation should be expected before the war’s end. It seems more likely to deteriorate further, and the future of maritime food exports is open to question.
This year, a slight GDP growth of 2-3% is predicted, even though Ukrainian government representatives admit they cannot rule out a recession (depending on how the military situation develops). There is still a risk that the country will be paralysed due to the destruction of its critical infrastructure. Emergency power cuts have a negative impact on the production of those companies still in operation in the industry sector. It is difficult to gauge whether the increase in exports observed over the last months can be sustained in the longer term, this will depend on the maintenance of the grains corridor.
Ukraine’s economy has faced significant challenges due to ongoing conflict, but signs of resilience are emerging in various sectors. Including the printing market. The nation’s ability to recover and rebuild will depend on continued international support and the eventual conclusion of the war.
For more insights and assistance in navigating the Ukranian market, please contact Petr Kramerius on +420 607 887 117 or [email protected]