Colour printing keeps costs down, saves paper

Johannesburg, 21 Jun 2010

These are the findings of research conducted by Ipsos for Lexmark (NYSE: LXK), the printing solutions provider.

Office workers are far more careful about what they print if they print in colour rather than in black.

As a result, there is far less unnecessary printing, leading to reduced paper waste and lower costs when compared to black printouts.

Main results at a glance

* Almost 70% of employees claim they pay closer attention when printing in colour than in black.
* On average, office workers print 11 pages in colour per day compared to 20 pages in black.
* Although European employees print less in colour than in black, they also waste less - two pages per day in colour versus five pages per day in black.
* Overall, 71% of European office workers have access to a colour printer today.
* Improved readability and therefore better comprehension of a document is judged to be the biggest benefit of colour printing, followed by a greater impact on the reader.
* The main barrier to improved access to colour printing is management's belief that it is not required by staff or that it is too expensive.

Who is leading the way in colour printing across Europe?

Overall, 71% of European office workers have access to at least one colour printer. Employees in the UK have the best access, with over eight out of 10 (82%) saying they can print in colour at work. Hungary and France are bottom of the list, with 58% and 62% respectively saying they have a colour printer in the office.

People working in small businesses are far more likely to be able to produce colour copies, with 76% of those in companies with less than 49 people saying they have the necessary equipment on site. This compares with only 66% of those in larger companies with more than 500 staff.

What can colour printing do to reduce paper waste?

The research found that, on average, office workers print 11 pages in colour per day compared to 20 pages in black. And 68% say they are more careful about wasting paper when printing in colour. The survey confirms this perception: only 18% of colour printouts are wasted, compared to 25% of those in black only.

“The results of this research show that colour printing can help companies take a more efficient approach to printing and keep costs down, as office workers take a far more considered approach to colour printing and are more conscious of the cost involved,” said Mike R"uschenbaum, Lexmark vice-president and general manager, Europe Middle East and Africa. “Lexmark's approach, 'Print Less, Save More' is well received by large international organisations that want to reduce paper waste, improve the efficiency of their document processes and reduce costs.”

How can colour printing help businesses?

The number one benefit of being able to print in colour is that it enhances the readability and comprehension of a document, according to 34% of respondents. This is closely followed by 30%, who say it creates a greater impact on the reader, and 24% who say it looks more professional.

Over one in 10 (12%) say they feel it helps to improve their company's brand recognition.

However, the benefits differ according to the departments that respondents work in. Almost one-third (30%) of administration and HR staff think that the professional look of a document is the number one benefit when it is produced in colour. While among those working in research, studies and development, 51% say readability is the biggest advantage. Not surprisingly, 18% of those in sales, marketing and communications feel that improving brand recognition is the number one benefit.

What are the main objections to colour printing?

The main barrier to introducing colour printing equipment or purchasing additional printers is that colour printing is seen as a 'nice to have' rather than a 'must have' capability. According to the survey, 39% of those questioned say it isn't seen as useful for their jobs. There is also a common belief, according to 34% of respondents, that companies think colour printing is too expensive. Limited access to a colour printer is also holding back staff, with 27% of people surveyed saying the equipment is limited to certain departments or selected employees within their organisation.

So, while employees are keen to switch to colour printing, education is required at management level regarding the cost benefits and efficiency savings available.

The Lexmark printers and multifunction devices offer access to Lexmark's Embedded Solutions Framework, which enables customisable or industry-specific solutions to streamline paper-based processes, increasing productivity and reducing page volumes.


While often conceived as more expensive than black, the research shows that colour printing helps change printing behaviour - employees are more considerate about what and how much they print as they are far more cost conscious.

However, while staff are clear on the benefits, there is still some work to be done educating managers on the advantages of improving access to colour printing. By lifting restrictions on access to colour printing and ensuring the necessary equipment is more readily available, companies should be able to reduce paper waste and take a more efficient approach to printing than before.

Lexmark (NYSE: LXK) works with companies around the globe, first analysing their print infrastructure and policies and then helping them deploy new strategies to reduce both fiscal costs and the business' environmental footprint. This 'Print Less, Save More' approach is helping companies like BASF, Kingfisher, Rhodia and Rexel to manage their print output more efficiently and effectively.


Ipsos conducted the survey with 6 601 employees from 10 European countries and the United Arab Emirates, in order to evaluate the printing behaviours of employees.

The interviews were carried out on the Internet from 23 July to 24 August 2009, with employees from representative samples of each of the following countries: France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Austria, and the United Arab Emirates.



Lexmark International (NYSE: LXK) provides businesses of all sizes with a broad range of printing and imaging products, solutions and services that help them to be more productive. In 2009, Lexmark sold products in more than 150 countries and reported $4 billion in revenue. Learn how Lexmark can help you get more done at

Lexmark and Lexmark with diamond design are trademarks of Lexmark International, registered in the US and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. All prices, features, specifications and capabilities are subject to change without notice.

Editorial contacts

Celine Leahy
Grapevine Communications
(011) 706 9600
Elizabeth Olivier
Lexmark International SA
(011) 244 2641