Why Is Printer Ink So Expensive? It Shouldn't Be


expensive printer ink

In a 2017 study conducted by BBC, the news company sought to find the top ten most expensive liquids in the world. Amongst the rarities were human blood, Chanel No. 5, and black printer ink--yes printer ink.

While it's no surprise that the price of printer ink has increased over the years, the question remains: why? Manufacturers have made claims of "technical complexities", "product developments", and "specific design." However, they have not explained why, in the midst of all this innovation, they have not found ways to reduce company costs, and thus consumer costs, when producing these cartridges.

The Real Reasons You're Paying More For Ink:

Brand Monopolies

Let's be honest, the names HP and Epson probably sound far more familiar to you than their e-commerce competitors. There's a reason behind this. Most OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) try and discourage customers from buying refilled cartridges by using aggressive marketing tactics and encrypted chip technology. This allows them to keep control over the majority of the ink market, thus setting higher prices. This has been seen before as Lexmark, a laser printer manufacturer, tried to argue in court that unofficial microchips that allow the use of third-party ink cartridges in their printers violate Lexmark’s copyright. This, however, is not the case, and the company was denied their claim.

Selling Printers At A Loss

Traditional ink brands are aware of the monopoly they have over the current market. So much so that they often sell printer models at a loss because they are reassured that consumers will buy their cartridges. Companies increase the price of ink to not only to offset low printer prices, but to also bring in higher profit margins. Rather than sell a printer that is more expensive, these brands will lure customers in with inexpensive printer prices and ensure a steady stream of cartridge purchasers. In fact manufacturers use tactics to try and ensure that customers will not buy from resellers, such as printers including warnings against using refilled cartridges. Attempts to keep consumers from understanding how their products’ value is declining is a driving reason why brands have stopped listing the amount of ink each cartridge contains, which is only continually decreasing.

A Demand Still Exists

How are brands such as HP and Epson continuing to see such high sales rates when decreasing the deal consumers get? Simple, the demand is still present. In fact, re-manufactured ink cartridges account for only five-percent of all ink cartridge sales. Consumers are creating a demand for these brands despite their falling quality and value. OEM sales are only increasing each year. For example HP’s sales grew by 11% percent last year. In order to make larger corporations realize that their price points are too high, consumers need to ensure that they are shopping smarter.

You're Not Buying Remanufactured Cartridges

How can consumers do so? Purchasing Remanufactured Ink Cartridges is the best way to avoid paying sky rocket prices. Buying re-manufactured ink cartridges not only proves more cost effective, as cartridges often cost 40% to 60% less than the original cartridges, but also creates profound positive impacts that benefit the environment. It's a double-win! Each year over 350 million ink cartridges end up in landfills. By choosing to recycle your own ink cartridges or purchasing re-manufactured ink cartridges you are creating impactful change! Have any qualms or questions on re-manufactured cartridges? Head over to our last article where we debunk the five most common re-manufactured ink cartridge myths!

Is there something we’re overlooking? Something we forgot to add? Let us know in the comments below!

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