Pen Scanners Write the Next Chapter in a Rapidly Expanding Market, IDC Says

FRAMINGHAM, MASS., FEBRUARY 22, 2000 — Driven by the growing popularity of the Internet and the need for image digitization, scanners have gone mainstream. Pen scanners, also known as digital highlighters, are the next step in scanner evolution. According to IDC, this segment of the U.S. scanner market will experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 109% from 1999 to 2004, as shipments climb to 840,000 units by the end of the forecast period.

Once confined to the desktop, scanners have become a fully portable peripheral that can scan single lines of text, convert them to editable text, and store the information for transfer to a personal computer. "Unlike flatbeds, pen scanners allow users to collect information from specific sections of a document," said Ron Glaz, senior analyst with IDC’s Digital Cameras and Scanners research program. "Because you’re only scanning the portion of the document you need, these devices substantially decrease scanning and processing time." Data is then transferred from the scanner to the PC via a cable that connects to the computer serial port or an IrDa port.

To this point, there are three serious vendors immersed in the relatively new pen scanner market. C Technologies, Siemens, and WizCom Technologies each introduced handheld scanners in 2H99, all geared toward eliminating functionality limitations of traditional pen scanners. Overall, the three models were very similar in design, size, and weight; however, all three had a slight variation of features and price tags ranging from $99 to $199.

Key Findings

— Pen scanners projected for release in 2000 will include USB connectivity.

— In 2004, the U.S. pen scanner market will hit $109 million.

— By mid-2000, pen scanners will be priced below $100.

— 40-50% of scanned documents are archived, printed, and edited.

U.S. Handheld Scanners: The Digital Highlighter (IDC #B21198) provides a high-level view of U.S. highlighter pen scanners. It provides data on 1999 actual unit shipments and value of shipments (U.S. dollars) and total-year forecasts for 2000-2004. To order the report, contact Patrick Steeves at 508-988-6787 or

About IDC

IDC delivers dependable, relevant, and high-impact data and insight on information technology to help organizations make sound business and technology decisions. IDC forecasts worldwide IT markets and technology trends and analyzes IT products and vendors, using a combination of rigorous primary research and in-depth competitive analysis. IDC is committed to providing global research with local content through more than 500 analysts in 43 countries worldwide. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of International Data Group, the world's leading IT media, research, and exposition company.

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