April 2019

Welcome to this month's IT Market Alert from KnowledgeBus. This alert is designed to deliver some key market knowledge viewed during March 2019 that should help you get more from your IT procurement going forwards.


Executive Summary

  • Smartphone shipments down but growth is on the horizon
  • A slow start to 2019 hits semiconductors revenue
  • DRAM facing more price drops


The largest number of price increases happened by March 4th, with 36,767 .

Jump to Monthly Stats

March was another mixed month for the IT channel. Current smartphone shipments are down, but the outlook is positive. PC shipments and memory prices continue to dive, while enterprise storage values and panels are looking up.


Exchange Rate

Starting at 0.8589 and holding steady until a dip to 0.8576 on Mar 7, the euro then rose and fell against the GBP, first jumping to 0.8626 by Mar 10 before falling to a low of 0.8514 by Mar 17. A sharp recovery to 0.8664 on Mar 21 was quickly dashed, dropping back to 0.8549 on Mar 23-24, jumping, and then dropping to 0.8527 on Mar 27 before recovering again to end the month at 0.8602.

British Pound (GBP) per 1 Euro (EUR)

Against the USD, the euro started at 1.1370 and fell hard, dropping to a monthly low of 1.1217 before steadily rising to a high of 1.1392 by Mar 21. The euro then dived again, falling all the way down to end the month at 1.1225.

US Dollar (USD) per 1 Euro (EUR)

Euro (EUR) per 1 British Pound (GBP)

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

According to Reuters, PMI fell again in March, hitting 51.3 and far below the expected 52, CNBC said the economy was at its worse since October, Express.co.uk said confidence is at a three-year low and MarketWatch said the economy is sliding toward another recession.

Price Changes and News Through March 2019


Phones and Tablets

For a third consecutive year global smartphone shipments will decline YoY, IDC forecast, down 0.8% YoY for 2019 to 1.39bn units. Looking ahead, the company suggests smartphone shipment will grow 1.7% YoY to 1.54bn units by 2023, while 5G phones will reach 26% market share, up 23.9% YoY.

IDC said Samsung maintained its hold on the EMEA region with Q4 smartphone shipments reaching 27.7m units, down -3.8% YoY but accounting for 28% of the market. Huawei in second enjoyed a 73.7% YoY growth to 20.9m units and 21.2% of the market, while Apple in third dropped 14.8% to 16.4m units and 16.6% of the market, Transsion posted +31.5% YoY to 8.2m units and 8.3% of the market, while Xiaomi in fifth registered +70.5% YoY to 4.2m units and 4.3% of the market.

Meanwhile, IDC said global smartphone assembly volume shipments fell 6.2% YoY in Q4 to 356.7m units. TrendForce found 3D sensing in smartphones grew in value from $819m in 2017 to $3.08bn in 2018, and will grow 26.3% to $3.89bn in 2019.

In other news, 2022 is set to be the year when foldable smartphone demand takes shape, with market share set to go grow 0.1% in 2019 to 1% in 2021 and 3.4% by 2022 on the back of more panel providers and technology advancements

In tablet news, IDC said detachables will reach 22.1m units in 2019, and grow to 26.5m by 2023, while slate tablets will drop from 114.7m units to 95.6m units over the same time period, resulting in an overall 2.8% decline in tablet shipments from 136.8m units in 2019 to 122.1m by 2023.

Traditional PCs

IDC’s report also said global PC device shipments including desktops, notebooks and tablets will fall 3.3% YoY in 2019 to 391.1m units and continue to drop at 1.2% to 372.6m units shipped by 2023. Combined desktop and notebook shipments will reach 254.4m units in 2019 and fall at a CAGR of -0.4% YoY to 250.5m units by 2023. Notebooks alone will enjoy a 0.7% growth over that time.

Meanwhile, PC revenue by Western Europe’s biggest distributors enjoyed 6% YoY growth in Q1 to €2bn. All but Spain, Netherlands and Switzerland enjoyed Q1 YoY growth, of which the UK registered 1.9% growth, Context reported.

Premium Ultramobiles & Wearables

The Context report had commercial ultra-thin notebook sales (with a z-height under 18mm) jumping 50% in Western Europe to reach a 22% share of the commercial market. Wearable shipments passed 100m devices in 2018, driving sales to $19bn, up 17% in value, Mediapost reported. Looking ahead, it expects growth in wearables to decline through 2022, where it will reach 145m units shipped and $27bn in retail value.

Processors, MEMs, Semiconductors

According to IDC, global AR and VR headsets will grow 54.1% YoY in 2019 to 8.9m units. This trend will continue at 66.7% YoY to 68.8m units by 2023

Processors, MEMs, Semiconductors

According to IHS, Intel topped the semiconductor revenue list in Q4 2018 with $18.4bn, beating Samsung ($15.8bn) for the first time since Q2 2017.

Meanwhile, the SIA said global semiconductor sales started off slow in 2019, falling 5.7% YoY and 7.2% on the month in January to $37.6bn. Only Europe (0.2%) posted a YoY growth, while all regions were down compared to December.


Low average selling prices and weak demand will see DRAM sales fall 22% YoY to $77bn for 2019, IHS reported, while TrendForce said NAND flash prices are expected to drop 20% in Q2.


Western Europe’s external storage systems Q4 value grew 10.1% YoY in dollar value (+13.6% euro), IDC reported. Dell topped the total EMEA regional list with a value of $701.02m, up 26.66% YoY, followed by HP (-1.37% to $342.84m), NetApp (+14.44% to $331.23m), IBM (-10.05% to $279.12m) and Hitachi (+8.4% to $155.98m).

In another report, IDC said global enterprise storage revenue grew 7.4% in Q4 to $14.5bn. Total capacity shipments also grew 1.7% YoY to 92.5 exabytes. Dell topped HP, NetApp, IBM and Huawei with 14.8% YoY growth in Q4 to $2.98bn and 20.6% market share.


Global TV panel shipments grew 2.9% YoY in 2018 to 221m units, on the back of 1H TV upgrade sales for the World Football Cup, IHS reported. The report also noted over 75% of all shipments in Q4 were smart TVs, and in Western Europe 63% of all shipments were UHD, the highest share of any region.

In other news, global PC monitor shipments fell 2.1% YoY in Q4 to 31.4m units. Looking ahead, IDC said annual monitor shipments are expected to fall 2.7% YoY to 118m units for 2019 and further to 114m units for 2020. By vendor, Dell beat HP and Lenovo to top Q4 shipments, while by technology, curved monitors enjoyed 15.4% QoQ growth in Q4 and 27.1%.


The world’s first office-friendly metal 3D printers are now available in the US, the Financial Post reported, noting that their creator Desktop Metal now has the capacity to ship 550 systems per year.


Monthly Stats

New products started low at 25, resting at under 30 aside from a one-day rise to 60 on March 5. Then on March 15 this figure moved suddenly, hitting 65 for three days running before rocketing to 2922 on March 18. It dropped to the low hundreds for three days before another three-day run at 1,777 from March 22-24. Then it dropped back below 100, finishing the month at 78.

Price increases started the month at 6,197 and hit three distinct highs of 36,767 on March 4, 32,835 on March 11, and 35,407 on March 22. Low points were 8,273 on March 8, 7,212 on March 20 and finally the month’s low of 2,795 on March 28. HP led the field in price increases during March.

Stock up figures ranged between 2,766 and 6,300 until March 18 when they hit a high of 27,299. Then they dropped down to 2,613 on March 19 and stayed in the low thousands, finishing the month at 4,106. Stock down started a three-day at 18,738 before dropping to reach 10,404 on March 5. Then it ranged between 11,000 and 12,000 until spiking at 34,285 on March 19 and dropping back to 12,962 on March 20. It hit two lows of 10,730 and 10,639 on March 26 and 28 respectively, finishing the month at 12,538 on March 31.

New Products March 2019

Prices and Stock Movements March 2019