January 2017

Welcome to this month's IT Market Alert from KnowledgeBus. This alert is designed to deliver some key market knowledge viewed during December 2016 that should help you get more from your IT procurement going forwards.


Executive Summary



The largest number of price increases happened on December 26, with 24,057 rises in a single day.

Jump to Monthly Stats
  • Tablets are on the verge of a rebound
  • SSD adoption to pass 50% in notebooks
  • DRAM and NAND continue price increases

While there were some markets in decline this month, such as the global printer and enterprise and HDD storage markets, it wasn’t all doom and gloom for the IT channel.

Smartphones are on track for long-term shipment growth, tablets are set to rebound, ultramobiles, VR and wearable shipments are all booming, DRAM and NAND prices continue to rise, semiconductor sales are up, SSD adoption is set for new heights and large-size and 4K TV panels continue to build noticeable presence in their markets.


Exchange Rate


The euro started poorly but ended strongly against the pound this month. It dropped from 0.8448 to 0.8372 by Dec 3, recovering to 0.8493 by Dec 7 and then entering a decline. It eventually hit a monthly low of 0.8364 by Dec 18 and then recovered strongly, jumping to 0.8511 on Dec 23 and again to 0.8564 by Dec 30, only to end the month slightly down at 0.8521.

British Pound (GBP) per 1 Euro (EUR)


The euro had no such luck against the dollar. After rising from 1.0613 to 1.0746 on Dec 6 it was all downhill for the euro, falling to 1.0558 by Dec 10, and after a quick rise to 1.0434 on Dec 16, another drop to a low of 1.0390 by Dec 20. After sitting at 1.0444 from Dec 22-29, the euro rose to 1.0536 on Dec 30, but fell to sit at 1.0516 on Dec 31.

The Eurozone experienced its highest inflation growth since 2013 this month when annual inflation rose to 1.1%, up from 0.6% in November and 0.2% in December 2015. Higher energy prices, services, food, alcohol and tobacco, and non-energy industrial goods all posted growth this month helping driving the inflation.

The Eurozone was also boosted by the ECB’s extension of quantitative easing, while business activity also grew, despite political uncertainty surrounding Trump and Brexit.



Euro (EUR) per 1 British Pound (GBP)


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



Price Changes


Price Changes and News Through December, 2016

Phones and Tablets

IDC says over 100,000 smartphones are damaged by liquid every day in Western Europe alone. Liquid damage is the second-biggest cause to damaged smartphones globally and accounts for 35% of all smartphone repairs, it warned.

This is what’s said to be driving shipments of water-resistant smartphones, with shipments in Western Europe for the period Jan-Sep 2016 up 45.2% to 22.5m units and constituting 23% of the smartphone market. Non-water-resistant smartphones fell 17.1% YoY to 75.2m units over the same period.

Meanwhile, Gartner said that global mobile phone shipments will continue to enjoy growth over the next few years, forecasting units shipped to grow from 1.888b in 2016 to 1.937b units by 2019.

Despite a 12% YoY decline in shipments in 2016 to 182.3m units, IDC is predicting 2018 to be the year the global tablet market rebounds on the back of the growing detachable tablet market.

Traditional PCs

Gartner is predicting shipments of traditional PCs (desktop and notebook) will drop from 219m units to 193m units by 2019. It’s not all bad news, with Gartner suggesting the PC market will benefit from a replacement period during 2018 that will help ease the decline.

Premium Ultramobiles/Wearables

Gartner suggests global shipments of premium ultramobiles will grow from 49m units in 2016 to 85m units in 2019, while basic ultramobile shipments will drop slightly over the same period, down from 168m units in 2016 to 166m units by 2019.

Fitness trackers led the global wearable market in Q3 with 3.1% YoY growth in shipments. Of the 23m units shipped, IDC reported Fitbit claimed the top spot with 5.3m units shipped and 23% market share, followed by Xiaomi (3.8m units) and Garmin (1.3m). Apple in fourth fell 71% YoY to 1.1m units, while Samsung in fifth enjoyed 89.9% growth to 1m units.

VR devices will reach 2.91m units in 2016 and grow 75% in 2017 to 5.1m units, TrendForce says. Sony will lead the market with 1.5m units shipped in 2016 and 2.5m units in 2017. IDC meanwhile said that 10.1m VR headsets shipped in 2016 and that 61m will ship in 2020. The disparity between IDC and TrendForce’s figures is because the former tracks screenless viewers designed to house mobile phones, such as Samsung’s GearVR, whereas the latter doesn’t.

Processors, MEMs, Semiconductors

The Semiconductor Industry Association this month reported global semiconductor sales for November were up 7.4% YoY to $31b and up 2% on October. By region, Europe enjoyed 2.5% growth on the month in November compared to October, but fell 1.6% YoY.


Average contract prices for 4GB PC DRAM grew 2.86% to $18 in November compared to October, TrendForce reported, along with spot prices of DDR3 (6% to $2.6) and DDR4 (2% to $2.53) chips also enjoying growth on the month. The report also suggests 8GB chips from 20nm processes will overtake 4GB and become PC DRAMs mainstream product in 2017.

In other news, TrendForce is predicting the current NAND flash shortage will cause a price increase of over 10% for enterprise and client SSDs between Q4 2016 and Q1 2017. The NAND flash industry will experience just a 6% growth in wafer capacity in 2017. 3D NAND is becoming the main market driver, leading to a marked drop in 2D NAND supply. The market for 3D NAND will remain tight until suppliers can apply 64-layer solutions to OEM storage products, the analyst firm said. DRAM prices will continue to rise strongly through 2017 as supply expansion is limited to less than 20%, and DDR3 4GB module prices have broken through the $25 barrier. Prices are set to reach record off-season increases of 30% in Q1 2017.


On average, factory revenue for global enterprise storage systems fell 3.2% YoY to $8.8b in Q3 2016, while capacity was up 33.2% YoY to 44.3 exabytes, IDC reported. Only ODMs selling to hyperscale customers are making more money here.

Despite losing 12.6% YoY in revenue and 2.7% market share, Dell owned top spot with $2.25b and 25.5% market share. HP came in second with $1.36b in revenue and 15.5% market share, down 8.1%, while NetApp claimed third over IBM and Hitachi with $587.1m and 6.6% market share.

The value of Western Europe’s external storage market and its capacity both fell around 5% YoY in Q3 to $1.06b and 1.978.7 petabytes. In the same report, IDC noted the greater EMEA region enjoyed enjoyed huge growth in the flash market, with all-flash up 76.4% on the year, and hybrid flash arrays up 3.5%, while traditional HDDs fell 33.6%.

In other news, TrendForce predicted the SSD market to soar in 2017 with total SSD adoption in notebooks for Q4 2017 to be over 50% during Q4 this year.


According to series of reports on TVs by TrendForce this month, global LCD panel shipments fell 0.9% in November on October to reach 22.79m units, vendors are focused on promoting larger than 32” sets following their 40% increase in production prices, and global LCD shipments are set for 1.9% YoY growth for 2016 to 220m units, where large-size (55”+) panels will account for 20% of all shipments and 4K sets will reach 31.5% penetration.

TrendForce predicted that the large-size TV market will achieve above seasonal demand in 1H 2017, while the second half of 2017 will be determined by supply and demand variables based on vendors need to reduce excess inventories.

In other news IHS has forecast flexible display shipments for smartphones to grow 135% YoY to 139m units in 2017, representing 3.8% of total display units shipped. In a report on AMOLED smartphone display shipments, IHS noted that despite accounting for less than 2% of the market in Q3, Chinese manufactures exceeded 1m units shipped for the first time, further recognising a growing trust in their manufacturing technology.


The global hardcopy peripherals (printer) market continued to decline in Q3, with shipments down 3% to 25m units. IDC said HP claimed the top spot with 9.5m units (down 4.7% YoY) and 37.9% market share, while Canon in second shipped 4.9m units (down 7.1% YoY) and 19.6% market share. Epson took third with 4.5m units and 18.3% of the market, enjoying 12.2% growth in shipments driven by strong sales in Asia/Pacific.

On a positive note, Western Europe’s laser printer market enjoyed a 1.9% YoY growth in shipments in Q3, bucking the negative trend seen over the previous five quarters.

Context reported that global desktop/personal 3D printers experienced over 25% growth in the first three quarters of 2016. 96% of all 217,073 3D printers shipped globally were desktop/personal, with an average cost below $1,000 per unit.

In terms of revenue, despite stalling and accounting for just 4% of the market and 7,726 units shipped, 3D industrial/professional printers accounted for 78% of the global 3D printer market.


Monthly Stats


New products started at 12, jumped to 17, fell to 8 for three days and then hit the monthly high of 38, all by Dec 7. Down to 25 by Dec 10 and following a series of rises and falls, new products then hit a low of 0 on Dec 28, and ended the month on 1.

Cisco once again dominated price increases while Fujitsu edged Cisco in price reductions by manufacturer.

Price increases per day started at 17,912 and fell immediately to 8,345 where it sat for three days. A quick jump to 16,650 on Dec 5 was followed by a drop to 4,779 on Dec 6. A series of rises and falls with a little stability then followed, until reaching the monthly high of 24,057 on Dec 26, low of 541 on Dec 27 and ending the month at 6,749.

Price decreases per day jumped immediately from 15,496 to 18,300 where it sat from Dec 2-4. The rise and fall trend then continued, with highlights including reaching a high of 30,0381 on Dec 19, low of 50 on Dec 27, and ending the month at 11,719.

Stock up rose immediately from 2,856 to 19,708 on Dec 2-4, fell to 2,054, recovered and then fell again. These movements continued throughout December, with highlights including falling to 14 on Dec 13, peaking at 52,291 from Dec 17-19, another fall to 33 on Dec 27 and seeing out the month at 1,497. Stock decreases sat stable at the beginning of the month, fell, recovered, skyrocketed to 51,667 on Dec 12, fell to 27 on Dec 13, recovered and then fell again, eventually sitting at 3,687 on Dec 30.

New Products December 2016


Prices and Stock Movements December 2016