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3 Reasons That Office Printer Ink Cartridges Are Expensive

2012-01-29

Three reasons in particular stick out as contributors to the high price of office printer ink. The increase in technology and specialization of printer ink cartridges is a significant factor to price increases, which by some reports has risen by about 360% over a ten-year period. Another reason is the high demand created by business and home offices everywhere using office printer ink. Finally, brand name companies artificially inflate the prices of printer ink cartridges.

Technology and Specialization

Ink printers have come a long way technologically in a short amount of time, providing the ability to easily print large color photos for example. With this increase in technology comes more specialized tools, such as printers and cartridges, to achieve higher performance. For example, to print color, one needs a color cartridge in addition to a black ink cartridge, but with higher quality color printing, one may need to move from an RGB color cartridge to a CMYK cartridge, a more specialized and higher cost product. Research and development has also resulted in enhancement of the ink with specialized additives and dyes to improve color performance, drying time and fade resistance. All these make printing quality better, but also increase the price of printer ink cartridges.

High Demand

Another basic reason for the expensiveness of office printer ink cartridges is the high demand for the product. Because increased applicability and performance has allowed every business and home office to use a printer and printer ink, demand for the cartridges are very high. In basic economic terms, when demand is high for a product, manufacturers of that product can sell it for a higher price. Because companies know that a customer will buy a printer ink cartridge whether it is $15 or it is $30, they will naturally sell the product for the higher amount.

Brand Name Cartridges

One of the most significant reasons for the high expensive of office printer ink cartridges is the price premiums associated with brand name ink and printer manufacturers. That $30 ink cartridge may cost a company about $3 to manufacture. Many of these companies may even lose money on the printers that they manufacture in order to hook customers into buying their ink at this huge markup for the lifetime of the printer. The same brand name companies also argue that remanufactured and generic ink cartridges do not meet the quality of their own printer ink cartridges so they will not be undercut by lower prices.

Printer ink is one of the biggest expenses in the office for businesses or home, and understanding the three drivers for this expense, technology, demand and brand names, is the first step in reducing cost.

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