Okay, so it’s happening everywhere; my favourite brand of toothpaste now comes in a 75ml tube where it once boasted 100ml. Chocolate manufacturers want us to forget that the 100g bar ever existed. Anywhere you look, there’s someone asking more for less. There’s all sorts of reasons given, “The economy’s tough”, “The markets have changed”, “Costs are higher”. There is some truth to these claims of course, but it is interesting to note that in a recent article Melissa Riofrio of PCWorld reveals that some original ink cartridges have increased in price as much as 30%. That’s well above South Africa’s own 5% inflation rate.
According to Riofrio, the rate of inflation in the USA increased by 7% from 2009 until the time of her article in 2012. Over this same time, the cost-per-page of some vendors' printer ink cartridges had risen by up to 30%. She noticed that the steepest price increases were only on certain models, and that the biggest culprits were Lexmark ink and Kodak, though Epson ink cartridges were also going up, and there was a steady increase on the effective cost of HP ink cartridges on the latest printer models.
There are various factors underlying these ink cartridge price hikes. The weakened world economy is playing its part, though you could be forgiven for wondering if it isn’t being used as an excuse to some extent.
The age of your printer might also be a factor, ink cartridges for older model printers are often subject to price hikes (HP’s January price increase put the price for toner cartridges up by 12-17% for 27 models of older printers). Printer manufacturers want you to buy their new printers after all, and one way to encourage that is to make older printers more expensive to run. Then again, as Riofiro pointed out, new models also represent a chance for manufacturers to sneak in extra costs on the new printer cartridge or, even worse, reduce the yield of their ink cartridges while apparently still charging the same price.
The advent of virtual alternatives to printing has also been blamed for original ink cartridge price increases. Printer manufactures are increasingly trying to chase dwindling profit margins so one solution is to increase ink cartridge prices. To me, this thinking seems flawed, of course new media will impact on the amount of printing people do, but increasing the price of the printed page hardly seems like a good way to encourage users to keep printing.
Printing still has a lot to offer, no one wants to have to conduct a meeting with everyone squinting at their smartphones, but as ink cartridge costs keep increasing, people are going to look for alternatives to expensive original printer cartridges.
The unsung hero in all this is the compatible printer cartridge. While printer manufacturers like Lexmark, HP, Epson, Brother and Canon scramble to squeeze every last cent from you, compatible cartridges represent an affordable alternative. Compatible cartridges offer you comparable page yields, comparable quality and up to 70% off the price of the originals.
The convenient truth is that if you’re reading this article you know just where to buy them.