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Exclusive Interview with Mr. C Sukumaran, Director, Consumer System Products & Imaging Communication Business at Canon

Mr. C. Sukumaran is the Director of Consumer Systems Products and Imaging Communication Business (B2C and B2B) at Canon India Pvt. Ltd. In his current role, he focuses on driving growth, market share and profitability for printing and imaging products. Mr. Sukumaran works closely with the partners to escalate the business proposition. Sukumaran has been associated with Canon for over 20 years. He has also immensely contributed to the overall business strategy and mentoring future leaders.

We got an opportunity to have an interaction with Mr. C. Sukumaran to discuss a few topics related to the products, marketing, and future plans of Canon India. Here’s how the interaction went:

  1. How did Canon do in 2020-21 and what was the Impact of COVID-19?

Like every other organization, we too were faced with overwhelming, competing challenges as we continue to navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. We started the year with an aim to ‘Reset and Restart’ and increase the business through our strengths. We also acknowledge that the crisis has fundamentally changed customers’ usage patterns and is accelerating immense structural changes in a consumer purchasing journey. We took this as an opportunity to help people adapt to the challenging hybrid working/learning environment aided by our printing solutions.

While the pandemic has impacted the overall printer industry, we were able to maintain our momentum in the Inkjet segment due to the growing demand for home printers & small office printers. We have been gaining market share in the inkjet category, building positive mindshare for our products among consumers.

Additionally, our robust service infrastructure also played a critical role in supporting customers in these times. We ensured seamless and remote technical assistance, increasing brand loyalty amongst them. Through our service initiatives, we want to put customer requirements at the forefront, as they continue to enjoy hassle-free service.

  1. Between laser and inkjet categories, which category of printers have witnessed the maximum growth?

We have witnessed a considerable shift in our customer’s usage pattern with ‘Work from Home’ and ‘Learn from Home’ models, propelling the demand for home printers and small office printers in India. Customers who used to go to copy shops for their printing needs are now willing to get a quick fix solution from the comfort of their homes. The deployment of virtual classes has accelerated the proliferation of home printers since parents are concerned about exposing their children to too much screen time and hence prefer to print documents to avoid eye strain.

  1. Any percentage increase in demand for ink tank/inkjet printers from the home segment?

This shift in user behavior has accelerated the rise of home printers and we are seeing an upwards of 30% increase in demand from this segment.

  1. What future trends do you foresee and how Canon is preparing for the same?

The pandemic has made every industry evolve and adapt basis the new market dynamics and the printing industry is no different. Over the past year, India’s workforce has come to terms with the new normal of working from home. This trend has not only increased the demand for home printers but has further led to an increased demand for customized print solutions. Additionally, the remote work environment has proliferated the adoption of connected and cloud-enabled printers that are cost-effective and offer an all-in-one solution.

It is our consistent effort to design and bring forth products that enable users to get the best quality output and at the same time be economical as well. We have a ‘full line-up strategy’, consisting of a range of printers catering across segments- from home to small offices and enterprise segment. Along with our best-in-class product portfolio, our robust service infrastructure has also played a critical role in supporting customers in these times. Through our service initiatives, we want to put customer requirements at the forefront, as they continue to enjoy hassle-free service.

  1. What else we can expect from Canon this year in terms of products? How many printers are in the pipeline?

The pandemic has redefined customer expectations, introduced new ways of working and the need for intelligent solutions to facilitate the same. The shift in usage patterns has made both, customers and us realize the potential, that lies in home printing solutions. Therefore, we have strategized and pivoted our operations in a way that offers our customers an efficient solution through our range of home printers.

With a full-line up strategy, we expanded our PIXMA G series portfolio earlier this year with seven new models: the PIXMA G3060, PIXMA G3021, PIXMA G3020, PIXMA G2060, PIXMA G2021, PIXMA G2020, and PIXMA G1020. The PIXMA G series has been highly appreciated and acknowledged to ensure minimal downtime and maximum productivity for homes and businesses with high print volume demands.

Furthermore, as customers invest more time and effort in capturing photographs and creating memories, we witnessed an increased interest in home photo printing. catering to such demands, we introduced a new line of photo printers, including the PIXMA G570, PIXMA G670, and PIXMA PRO-200. The two new PIXMA G series 6-color ink tank printers are designed to unleash the power of high-quality, long-lasting photo printing at a low cost for photo studios, businesses, the home segment, and creative work. Also, extending professional photographers, photo schools, and advanced amateurs the ability to print stunning images on a diverse range of paper media, the PIXMA PRO-200 houses Canon’s latest printing technologies to create professional photos and exhibition-ready prints up to A3+ sizes.

We have also recently introduced MAXIFY GX6070 and GX7070 business ink tank printers for our business customers, which allow high volume color printing at an economical cost per page.

We follow a customer-first approach and aim to offer products that meet the ever-evolving demands of our customers and offer services that elevate their overall experience with Canon India. Hence, we will continue to expand our best-selling series to unlock the power of high quality, and low-cost printing for photo studios, businesses, homes, and creative work.

  1. What scope do you see in the Indian market?

India is an important market for us as it holds immense potential in the printing segment. We are witnessing a steady growth in our consumer printing business with the home segment thriving during the pandemic. In line with these opportunities, we will continue to deliver high-quality products, providing a great customer experience and after-sales support, and also expand our reach across regions in India.  Going forward as well, we will continue to build our presence in the home segment along with the SMB and jobber segments for the inkjet category. We also look forward to increasing our commercial B2B expansion, with a strong presence on GeM.

We thank Mr. C. Sukumaran for the opportunity.