May 2018

Welcome to this month's IT Market Alert from the IT Edition of KnowledgeBus. This alert is designed to deliver some key market knowledge viewed during April 2018 that should help you get more from your IT procurement going forwards.


Executive Summary

  • Global PC shipments are down
  • Samsung, Micron & SK Hynix face price-fixing lawsuit
  • Industrial 3D printer market drives growth


The largest number of price increases happened on April 10th, with 39,327.

Jump to Monthly Stats

It was another mixed month in the IT channel in April. Tablets shipments are expected to rise while PC shipments drop, semiconductor sales are up YoY but down on the quarter, DRAM prices are set to come down, flexible AMOLED smartphone and curved gaming monitor panels are on the up along with 3D printer sales, while the euro struggled to gain traction against the dollar or the pound.


Exchange Rate

The euro ended back where it started against the GBP this month. Starting at 0.8787, after a long, slow decline the euro hit a low of 0.8639 by Apr 17 before rising to 0.8771 by Apr 21, falling, jumping to 0.8796 by Apr 28 and ending the month at 0.8792.

British Pound (GBP) per 1 Euro (EUR)

After a more positive start, it wasn’t good news in the end against the USD. Starting at 1.2320 and falling slightly to 1.2257 by Apr 6, the euro jumped, first to 1.2370 on Apr 11 and after another slight fall, to 1.2376 by April 18, where it then fell hard, hitting 1.2102 on Apr 27 and again to 1.2099 by Apr 30.

US Dollar (USD) per 1 Euro (EUR)

Euro (EUR) per 1 British Pound (GBP)

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

The eurozone economy appears to be stuck, the Times reported, noting the market going backwards over the past two months. The Financial Times echoed this in a number of articles, pointing towards downturns in key countries such as Germany, Spain, France and Italy. In another report the Financial Times said that the PMI stalled at 55.2 in April, stopping a two month decline but still much lower than January’s 58.8.

Price Changes and News Through April 2018


Phones and Tablets

Both EMEA smartphone shipments and market value fell YoY in 2017, IDC reported, with volume down from 374m units in 2016 to 261m units in 2017, and value down from €101bn in 2016 to €96bn in 2017.

According to IHS, the adoption of under-display fingerprint sensors in smartphones will reach 9m units for 2018 and jump to 100m units by 2019.

In tablet news, 2018 global shipments will grow by 10m units YoY, Gartner said, noting demand for premium models as the reason for the increase.

Traditional PCs

Gartner said global PC shipments fell 1.4% YoY in Q1 to 61.7m units, marking the segment’s 14th consecutive quarterly decline. HP led the market with 12.85m units in Q1, up 2.8% YoY and 20.8% market share, followed by Lenovo (+0.3% YoY to 12.34m units and 20% share), Dell (+6.5% to 9.88m and 16%), Apple (+1.5% to 4.26m and 6.9%) and Asus (-12.5% to 3.9m and 6.3%).

IDC on the other hand said Q1 PC shipments reached 60.4m units, recording a 0% YoY change and better than expected outcome. HP topped IDC’s list, followed by Lenovo, Dell, Acer and Apple.

Commercial demand for PCs helped drive the EMEA market up 0.6% YoY to 17.5m units in Q1, IDC reported. Desktop devices posted 2.9% YoY growth while notebooks dropped 0.5%. Western Europe fell 4.3% YoY on the back of a 16.7% consumer decline. Commercial PC shipments grew 6.3% YoY with the casual gaming helping market growth.

Premium Ultramobiles/Wearables

Global personal computing device shipments (PCs, tablets and mobile phones) fell 3% YoY in 2017 but are forecast to grow 1.3% to 2.3bn units in 2018. Gartner noted PCs will fall 3.9% YoY from 204m to 196m units in 2018, while premium ultramobiles will grow from 58m units to 67m and mobile phones up from 1.84bn units in 2017 to 1.87bn in 2018.

Processors, MEMs, Semiconductors

The SIA said Q1 semiconductor sales reached $111.1bn, up 20% YoY but down 2.5% on Q4. By region for the month of March, the Americas posted 35.7% YoY but fell 2% on the month while Europe enjoyed 20.7% YoY growth and 3.9% on the month, along with China, Japan and the rest of the world all posting YoY and monthly growth.

Gartner noted 2017 semiconductor sales revenue grew 21.6% YoY to $420.4bn. Samsung jumped into top spot with 49.3% YoY growth to $59.87bn and 14.2% of the market, followed closely by Intel (+8.6% YoY to $58.72bn and 14% of the market). SK Hynix (+79.6% to $26.47bn and 6.3% market), Micro Technology (+71.1% to $22.89bn and 5.4%) and Qualcomm (+4.4% to $16.01bn and 3.8%) rounded out the top five.


TrendForce said oversupply of NAND Flash in Q1 will continue into Q2 with prices on the decline, despite overall demand set to increase.

Meanwhile, both V3 and ExtremeTech have reported that DRAM giants Samsung, Micron and SK Hynix, the big three responsible for some 96% of the NAND market, have been accused of price fixing, with a lawsuit filed in the USA stating collusion to restrict supply in 2016 led to increases in memory prices.


Falling prices and higher storage capacities will see SSD adaption in new notebooks rise to over 55% with 256GB SSDs to become the norm by 2019, Digitimes forecast.


Flexible AMOLED panel demand for smartphones will grow rapidly in 2018, but not as much as expected. According to IHS, after jumping from 40m units shipped in 2016 to 125m in 2017, the flexible AMOLED smartphone panel shipments are expected to reach just 167m units in 2018, up 34% but less than the near-double expected.

The report further went to identify high-res smartphone panels will grow 19% YoY to 785m units in 2018, and total mobile phone displays up 1% YoY to 2.02bn for 2018.

Q1 LCD monitor shipments posted 0.3% YoY growth on the back of March’s strong 40.9% YoY growth. According to a TrendForce report, nearly 40% of all the gaming monitors were curved, and it expects that to grow to 60% by the end of the year, further boosting shipments of gaming monitors to 4-5m units.

In other news, TrendForce says OLED panels are now more competitive in the smartphone market, noting tight supply issues easing and forecasting market penetration to reach 46% by 2021.


Central and Eastern Europe recorded a 6.3% YoY large format printer shipment growth, IDC reported, but just 1% in value, following an economic downtown in many Eastern European companies.

Global 3D printer shipments in Q4 reached 14% YoY growth to 132,000 units, Context reported, noting the industrial segment buoyed the market with +39% YoY growth, and accounted for over 70% of printer revenue, up 44% YoY, while the personal market show signs of slowing with just 10% YoY growth in shipments.


Monthly Stats

New products started at 450, dropped to 2 on Apr 3 and bounced back to 413 the next day before dropping to 251 by Apr 6-8 and 7 by Apr 11, where it stayed low until jumping from 13 on Apr 19 to a high of 1,229 on Apr 20-22. After another fall and slight recovery, new products sat at 7 from Apr 27-29 before ending the month at 8.

Honeywell Bull, Tripp Lite and Dell topped price increases by manufacturer this month while Zebra Technologies, Tripp Lite and SonicWALL Inc., led price reductions.

Price increases per day started at 35,604, dropped to a low of 1,386 on Apr 3 and got stuck in a repetitive pattern of rising, falling and holding steady. Highlights include rising from 8,320 on Apr 11 to 18448 on April 12, sitting at 12,137 from April 20-22, jumping from 8,130 on Apr 25 to a high of 44,919 on Apr 26, dropping to 6,907 on Apr 27-29 and ending the month at 20,216.

Total price decreases per day started at 8,901, dropped to a low of 1,080 on Apr 2, recovered and hit a high of 39,327 on Apr 10, held steady at 15,263 from Apr 13-15, rose, fell and ended the month up at 17,440.

Stock up highlights include starting at 5,878, hitting a low of 1,005 on Apr 2, holding steady at 4,006 from Apr 13-15, hitting a high of 33,646 on Apr 20-22 and falling back to 5,560 by Apr 30.

Similarly, stock down fell from 14,198 on Apr 1 to 1,908 on Apr 3, recovered and held steady, before dropping to 7,542 on Apr 20-23 and ending the month up at 22,238.

New Products April 2018

Prices and Stock Movements April 2018