Surprise - Tablet and smartphone users want to be able to print more

by David Needle

February 8 2013

It’s all about being online, digital and mobile, right? While these are key benefits of using mobile devices, a new study finds mobile users still have plenty of need (often unmet) for good old-fashioned printing.

A new IDC survey of 800 unique respondents, smartphone and tablet users found they were more likely than non-users to print 16 of 20 business applications from their PCs. IDC also noted these mobile device users were younger, more likely male, have higher incomes, and increasingly hectic travel schedules than the non-users.

While mobile access to the Internet is one of the big drivers of mobile demand, IDC forecasts that printing from these devices will become more popular over the next several years (through at least 2016).

Why? Among the reasons cited are expanding travel demands, access to color printing, and corporate requirements to print certain documents that's driving printing from tablets and smartphones both in the office and on the road.

Other key findings in the study include:

  • A higher percentage of tablet users than smartphone users can’t print but want to
  • Smartphone and tablet users at large and medium companies print more applications more frequently than their small company counterparts
  • Business-use smartphone/tablet users are more likely than their personal-use counterparts to print, and to have an interest in printing
  • Most consumer applications are cited as having flat print volume, but photo and coupon printing are increasing, while newspapers/magazines, explanation of benefits, event tickets, games, airline boarding passes, and flight itineraries are decreasing
  • A smartphone or tablet camera for document capture, and cloud file services (e.g., Dropbox) are used by more smartphone and tablet users than mobile scanners, and mobile printing services

IDC says the share of users printing from their smartphones and tablets will increase dramatically if users have their way, but more mobile printing resources need to be enabled as well as educating more users how to do it.

The percentage of users who printed from their mobile devices increased dramatically in 2012, and the percentage of those who do not print, and do not want to print, will decline from almost 50% in 2012 to just 25% in 2015 according to the survey results.

However, a large percentage of smartphone and tablet users do not know how to print from their devices, and a large share say their company has not yet enabled mobile printing.

Share with: Comments (1)    v
Latest News   and more about Mobile workers Stats & research

Free newsletters for more tablet news, insights, apps and tips


  • ugartabtimes
    1 year 9 months ago

    This makes sense, I'm still confused why this hasn't become mainstream. I think it would make sense to have a standard for printers to be accessible wirelessly and for mobile devices to have settings to add printers. So far, I'm only aware of Apple being ahead in the game with Airplay. However, this requires a total Apple ecosystem (including printer support).

    At my home, we're using a solution called FingerPrint ( It requires a "server" PC to run that software that finds available printers (non-Airplay) and makes them available to iOS devices. FingerPrint could be something useful in an office setting.

    I've been printing boarding passes from my iPad this way. I also have a Windows Phone 7 smart phone, and I wish I could print from it as well...

Latest in tablet business / productivity