August 2021

Welcome to this month's IT Market Alert from KnowledgeBus. This alert is designed to deliver some key market knowledge viewed during July 2021 that should help you get more from your IT procurement going forwards.


Executive Summary

  • PCs show slowing growth due to component shortfall
  • Chromebook sales performance remains excellent
  • Semiconductor sales continue to impress


The largest number of price increases happened on July 6th, with 43,786.

Jump to Monthly Stats

July showed continuing signs of pandemic recovery in the IT sector, despite ongoing supply chain issues and fears of a fourth pandemic wave. The UK channel is cruising along at around 10% more revenue than the 2019 moving four-week average, said CONTEXT Research. Across Europe, distribution sales grew 8.7% YoY in Q2.

Gartner predicted that worldwide IT spending would grow 9% this year to $4.2tn, signifying a healthy recovery, although we'll see what prospects of a fourth Delta-fuelled pandemic wave do to those numbers in time. Companies are flocking to IT services spending categories that have clear cost-cutting outcomes such as infrastructure as a service (IaaS), the company said. However, enterprise software and devices top the spending charts this year.


Exchange Rate

The euro started and finished strong against the dollar in July, although things went a little south for the single European currency during the month. From a 1.852 start on July 1, it increased to 1.864 for the weekend starting July 3. The following week saw it slide to 1.812 by Wednesday July 7 only to recover its losses to reach 1.872 on July 10. Those gains didn't last, though, and it fell steadily to a monthly low of 1.770 by July 23 with only a short half-hearted day-long rally on July 15. It redeemed itself by the month's end, though, climbing to its high of 1.876 on July 30 and finishing just slightly off at 1.866 the following day.

The euro's fortunes were inverted against the pound, with a general decline across the month, broken by a late and short-lived rally. EUR/GBP started at 0.8954 and fell steadily to 0.8526 on July 14, broken only by a brief bump from 0.8557 to 0.8582 on July 8. It then saw a rise from mid-month through to July 20, when it hit its high of 0.8639. After that, it dipped to its low of 0.8519 by July 29, recovering just slightly to limp in at 0.8534 at the end of the month.

British Pound (GBP) per 1 Euro (EUR)

US Dollar (USD) per 1 Euro (EUR)

Euro (EUR) per 1 British Pound (GBP)

US Dollar (USD) per 1 British Pound (GBP)

Price Changes and News Through July 2021


Phones and Tablets


Counterpoint Research saw a 4% growth around the world in shipments of refurbished smartphones in 2020. The pandemic choked off refurbished phone availability in 1H 2020 but demand and supply both increased in the second half. Europe is in second place in this market, lagging only China. Apple continues to do well with a 44% share of the secondary market. The research firm expects volumes of refurbished phones to rise still higher this year.

Traditional PCs

Gartner tracked a 4.6% YoY rise in worldwide PC shipments in the second quarter, totalling 71.6m units. This represents a quarterly slow-down in growth from Q1 2021's 35.7%, which the company attributed mainly to the ongoing component shortage. Lead times for some enterprise mobile PC models have expanded up to 120 days, which has increased materials for manufacturers, and therefore consumers.

The EMEA PC market fared still worse, with PC shipment dropping 1.9% YoY, the company said, calling it a transitional phase as the region adjusts to new norms in shipments, inventory, and demand.

CONTEXT found a shift in the mix of workstation types selling in Western Europe. Notebooks became dominant last year, accounting for 60% of all workstations on sale in the region by early Q2, compared to 49% a year ago. The pandemic will have had an inevitable effect, but so has an increase in product performance for this PC subcategory, which handles complex tasks.

Premium Ultramobiles & Wearables

IDC noted a 25.6% YoY growth in smart home device shipments to 23m throughout Europe in Q1, representing a two-year record. The growth, which extended across all subcategories, represented a welcome rebound after what the company called a flat 2020. Small appliances did especially well, as people clamoured for smart vacuum cleaners. Video entertainment still dominated in market share terms with a 46.6% share, growing 24.9% in the region to exceed 10.7m units. Most of the growth in that subcategory came from smart TVs, with the remainder coming from digital media adapters. Smart speaker shipments grew 19.1%, while home monitoring (including security, lighting, and thermostats) grew 26.7% to reach 6.1m units.

Chromebooks continue to outperform pretty much everything else. Canalys documented a 75% YoY growth in shipments to 11.9m units. HP took the top slot with a 36% market share and 4.3m shipments, enjoying an annual growth of 115.7%. The most exciting player was Samsung, however, which saw a 324% annual growth in Chromebook sales, even though it only reached the fifth spot with a 7.7% market share.

Processors, MEMs, Semiconductors

The Semiconductor Industry Association saw a 29.2% YoY increase in sales in June to reach $44.5bn, up from $34.5bn last year. Sales in Q2 also increased 8.3% to $133.6bn over the prior quarter. Europe topped the sales growth with an impressive 43.2%.


DRAM buyers are carrying higher inventory following accelerated purchasing in the first half of 2021, said TrendForce. That will help reduce the QoQ growth in contract PC DRAM prices to 3-8% in Q3 from 18-23% in Q2. Server DRAM demand will be similarly offset by high inventory but will still see a 5-10% QoQ growth in contract pricing.


TrendForce expects NAND flash contract prices to rise 5-10% QoQ in Q3, as strong demand in consumer electronics during the peak season combines with accelerated data centre procurement to buoy up the market. SSD demand is set to rise during the quarter thanks to high notebook demand that has prompted a production ramp-up. New Ice Lake CPUs from Intel are also accelerating demand for SSDs. Expect SSD contract prices to increase 3-8% in Q3, it said, dampened slightly by a move to higher-layered product in the second quarter.


TrendForce noted a 40% rise in notebook panel prices during the past year, driven by strong demand for these devices during the pandemic. High-end notebook panels to surpass 20% market share next year thanks to increasing interest in Oxide/LTPS and OLED technologies.

Large format displays did especially well in Q2 with a 70% YoY growth in distribution revenues, said CONTEXT, while monitors gained 16% revenue over Q2 2020 and other displays grew 23%.


Industrial 3D printer shipments are on the rise, according to CONTEXT. The research company said that both Europe and the US were enjoying a market recovery that began in China. Industrial shipments worldwide increased 43% YoY during Q1, and shipments of design-class devices in the $20-100k range grew 11%. professional printer shipments increased 7%. Personal and kit device shipments soared 38% and 459% respectively, but CONTEXT points out that in Q1 2020 a lot of the Chinese factories making this lower-end devices had been shuttered.

The company also noted that sales of business printers through European distributors recovered in June and will power growth in the second half of this year. Revenues were up 21.8% YoY on a 17.2% bump in shipments. Consumer printers bounced back dramatically from a low in April this year when they were hit hard by supply shortages.

On the business side, inkjet revenues increased 52.8% on shipment growth of 44.8%, with a strong contribution from entry-level and mid-range printers. MFP laser shipments were down 17.2% in June, mainly due to supply shortages impacting entry-level devices, but revenues increased 5% YoY as businesses switched to more expensive mid- to high-end models.

Monthly Stats

Price increases started high at 37,808 and saw two other peaks, reaching 35,086 on July 12 and a three-day period in the 33,000-34,900 range beginning on July 19. It saw three troughs, reaching 8,776 on July 7, 5,749 on July 13, and the month's low of 3,701 on July 29. Price decreases saw highs on July 6 (43,786), July 13 (37,561), and July 29 (42,207 - the monthly peak). Extreme Networks made the most price increases, while HP made the most price reductions.

Stock up ranged between the low 4,000s and the 5,000s for most of the month. Exceptions were July 1, 6, 9-13, and 30-31, when it dipped into the 3,000s, and July 15, when it saw its monthly low of 2,977. It also hit high notes in the 6,000s on July 8 and 27.

Stock down started the month on a high of 14,275, but otherwise stayed in the 10,000s-13,000s for the most part. Exceptions there were a brief dip into the 9,000s on July 5, 13-14, and 27.

New Products July 2021

Prices and Stock Movements July 2021