March 2017

Welcome to this month's IT Market Alert from KnowledgeBus. This alert is designed to deliver some key market knowledge viewed during February 2017 that should help you get more from your IT procurement going forwards.


Executive Summary



The largest number of price increases happened on February 1, with 17,632 rises in a single day.

Jump to Monthly Stats
  • Smartphone shipments to continue growing
  • HP enjoys quarterly sales growth in personal PC market
  • Semiconductor revenue reaches record high

It was a mostly positive month for the IT channel in February. Smartphone shipment growth is set to rise, semiconductor revenue reached record levels, DRAM prices continue to sit high, SSD prices are up and LCD TV panel shipments achieved growth.

On the down side, tablets including hybrids have and will continue to fall, and the euro lost ground against both the GBP and USD.


Exchange Rate


The euro started strong but ended down against the pound this month. Rising from 0.8553 to 0.8634 by Feb 4 it soon fell, eventually hitting 0.8479 by Feb 14. A quick recovery was soon dashed, rising to 0.8551 by Feb 19 then bottoming out at 0.8445 on Feb 22. The euro then recovered slightly to end the month at 0.8522.

British Pound (GBP) per 1 Euro (EUR)


It was mostly bad news for the euro against the US dollar, too. It fell gradually from 1.0781 on Feb 1 to 1.0532 by Feb 22. A slight rebound saw it end the month at 1.0594.

Despite falling against both markets, news outlets suggested it’s a positive time for the Eurozone. The Financial Times said the single economy has now enjoyed 14 consecutive quarters of growth and low unemployment was holding strong. The Nation and CNBC said business activity was at a six year high and that job creation was at the its best in over nine years.



Euro (EUR) per 1 British Pound (GBP)


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



Price Changes


Price Changes and News Through February, 2017

Phones and Tablets

Global smartphone shipments for Q4 2016 rose 7% YoY to 432m units and 5% on the year to 1.5b units, Gartner reported. Apple overtook Samsung by 0.1% to claim the quarter’s top smartphone vendor spot with 77.04m units and 17.9% market share.

IDC on the other hand said 2016 recorded its lowest ever smartphone shipment growth with just 2.5% YoY. Looking forward, shipments will rebound, up 4.2% to 1.5b units in 2017 and will continue to grow to reach 1.77b units by 2021.

In celebration of the iPhone’s 10th year, Apple will produce three new models in 2017, with 100m of its projected 230m units shipped to have AMOLED displays. According to TrendForce, the three models are a 4.7” LCD with 2GB memory and a 5.5” LCD with 3GB memory, both with up to 256GB storage, while the third, the major draw card, will be a 5.8” AMOLED display with 3GB memory, 64/256GB storage, 3D sensing (with facial recognition and AR features) and a redesign featuring no home button.

Q4 was a woeful time for tablet shipments with hybrid/detachables experiencing their first holiday season decline. According to IDC, global shipments reached 52.9m units for the quarter, down 20.1% YoY, while annual shipments of 174.8m units were down 15.6% YoY.

By vendor, Apple (-18.8% to 13.1m units and 24.7% market share), Samsung (-11.4% to 8m units and 15.1% market share) and Amazon (-0.6% to 5.2m units and 9.7% market) all experienced shipment declines, while Lenovo grew 14.8% to take fourth with 3.7m units and Huawei in fifth grew 43.5% to 3.2m units and 6% of the market.

TrendForce reported global tablet shipments for 2016 were down just 6.6% YoY to 157.4m units. Despite a 14.1% drop to 42.55m units shipped, Apple had stronger than expected results to maintain 27% of the market. Samsung’s 27m units (-19.4%) saw it come in second with 17.2% of the market.

Traditional PCs

HP announced a second consecutive quarter of growth for personal PC sales this month up 4% YoY to $12.7b. According to Fortune, the rise comes from higher-priced gaming buyers and increased demand for detachables. HP is now, however, expecting a larger than normal drop in sales for the next quarter.

According to IDC, shipments of personal computing devices (laptops, notebooks, desktops, workstations) and tablets combined, will fall at a 0.8% CAGR over the coming years from 435m units in 2016 to 418.2m units by 2021.

Premium Ultramobiles/Wearables

IDC’s report also predicted strong growth for detachable tablets. They enjoyed 21.4m shipments in 2016, representing 4.0% of the market. In 2021, that number will rise to 56.1m units, representing 13.4% of the market. That’s a 21.2% CAGR compared to the personal computing device market’s overall 0.8% decrease.

Processors, MEMs, Semiconductors

The Semiconductor Industry Association says the global semiconductor industry reached its highest ever annual sales in 2016, up 1.1% YoY to $338.9b. Logic led the market for sales with 27% and $91.5b, followed by memory ($76.8b) and micro-ICs ($60.6b). Sensors and actuators grew the most in 2016, up 22.7% YoY while NAND flash also enjoyed 11% increase in sales to $32b. Regionally, China (+9.2%) and Japan (+3.8%) enjoyed growth, while Europe (-4.5%), Americas (-4.7%) and the AsiaPac/other (-1.7%), all fell.


DRAM revenue was up 18.2% for Q4 on the quarter, TrendForce said, with the top three vendors (Samsung, SK Hynix and Micro) combining for $5.9b and 47.5% of the market.

In another report, TrendForce noted mobile DRAM revenue rose 20% on the quarter in Q4 to $5.51b, where Samsung held 61.3% of the global market. The entire DRAM industry is expected to enjoy profit in 2017, with Samsung to continue in its winning ways as it accelerates toward 18nm technology. Mobile DRAM prices are also expected to increase 10% YoY by the end of 2017.


According to TrendForce, a follow-on from tight global supply of the 2D-NAND flash market and severe shortages at the end of 2016 will see SSDs and eMMcs enjoy a 10-20% increase in contract price in Q2 on the quarter.


Global LCD TV panel shipments enjoyed a slight YoY growth in 2016, with strong sales in North America helping the market increase shipments by 1.6% to 219.2m units.

By vendor, TrendForce said Samsung took top spot with 47.9m units shipped in 2016, showing no movement from 2015. In second place, LGE dropped 4.1% YoY to 28.2m units, Hisense rose one spot to third after increasing shipments 3.9% to 13.3m units, followed by TCL (+0.8% to 13.2m) and Sony (-3.7% to 11.7m) rounding out the top five.

IHS says AMOLED production is officially the next big thing with the flat panel industry planning to invest $9.5b in AMOLED specific manufacturing equipment in 2017.

Chinese manufacturer BOE took the top position among large TFT-LCD display suppliers in unit shipments during January with 22.3% of the market. IHS also noted that BOE claimed the top spot for IT displays with 29% of all 9”+ tablet, notebook PCs and monitor shipments, but sat in third for TV panels behind LG (21.5%) and Innolux (16.3%).


According to a report by Zacks, despite hardware unit sales increasing 6% YoY, HP’s printing business revenue was down 3% YoY in 2016 to $4.5b.

The global printing ink market is set to rise strongly over the next few years with The Recycler stating demand for ink will reach 4,989.7 kilo tons and $20.16b value by 2020.


Monthly Stats


HP led price increases by manufacturer, while Zebra led price reductions by manufacturer.

Price increases per day started at 17,632, dropped to 8,081, recovered to sit at 17,345 from Feb 3-6 and then fell until eventually reaching 935 by Feb 15. The rest of the month was spent around 4,000, with a few rises in-between including a jump to 15,957 on Feb 27 followed by a fall to end the month at 7,245.

After an immediate jump from 2,227 to 14,695 on Feb 2, price decreases fell gradually for most of the month. A few highlights include hitting a high of 16,354 on Feb 9, bottoming out at 532 on Feb 21, and ending the month at 3,219.

Stock up started at 2,505, jumped immediately to 28,658 on Feb 2, and then fell and sat at 1,645 from Feb 3-6. Another jump and fall, this trend continued for the rest of the month, with highlights including a high of 31,836 on Feb 13, low of 1,207 on Feb 21 and ending the month down at 2,300.

Stock decreases fell from 26,597 to the monthly low of 1,964 on Feb 2, rebounded to a high of 32,097 on Feb 3-6, and then continued to rise and fall until ending the month dropping from 27,676 on Feb 27 to 5,652 on Feb 28.

Prices and Stock Movements February 2017