March 2019

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


Executive Summary

  • Smartphones up to 0.1%
  • Semiconductors pass 1 trillion shipments
  • DRAM revenue down 18%


The largest number of price increases happened by February 19th, with 64,716.

Jump to Monthly Stats

It was another negative month for the IT channel in February with the euro falling against both currencies, smartphones posting minimal growth, PC shipments down across the board, DRAM revenue falling hard and printer sales in decline.


Exchange Rate

The euro started at 0.8753 against the GBP, rose to 0.8790 by Feb 6, dropped to 0.8736 on Feb 9 and rose to a high of 0.8795 by Feb 14 before diving hard, hitting a low of 0.8564 on Feb 27 and ending the month at 0.8565.

British Pound (GBP) per 1 Euro (EUR)

It was similar result against the USD, with the euro starting at 1.1456 and falling to a monthly low of 1.1281 by Feb 14 before recovering, reaching 1.1345 by Feb 20, dropping, and ending the month down at 1.1382.

US Dollar (USD) per 1 Euro (EUR)

Euro (EUR) per 1 British Pound (GBP)

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

It wasn’t a great month for the eurozone overall. Reuters said manufacturing is well and truly in reverse, with the PMI hitting a seven-month continuous decline to 49.3, down from 50.5 in January. It’s the first time since 2013 the PMI fell below 50. The report also suggested the ECB will now launch cheap bank loans from June and will postpone hikes until 2020 to help counter a potential recession.

Price Changes and News Through February 2019


Phones and Tablets

Global smartphone sales grew just 0.1% YoY in Q4 2018 to 408.4m units. According to Gartner, Samsung led the market with 70.78m units and 17.3% market share, ahead of Apple (64.52m and 15.8%), Huawei (60.40m and 14.8%), OPPO (31.58m and 7.7%) and Xiaomi (27.84m and 6.8%).

Annually, global smartphone sales posted a 1.2% YoY growth to 1.6bn units, with Samsung again leading Apple, Huawei, Xiaomi and OPPO.

IDC forecast a 0.8% YoY decline in 2019 smartphone shipments to 1.39bn units, marking a third consecutive YoY fall. Looking ahead, H2 will enjoy a 2.3% YoY increase, but not enough to drive annual YoY growth. In the long term, the market will grow steadily to 1.54bn units shipped by 2023. The report also noted 4G will remain the dominant phone network, with 5G increasing to 0.5% market share in 2019 and 26% saturation by 2023.

In tablet news, Apple led the market in Q4 with 9.8% YoY growth to 14.5m units and 26.5% market share, ahead of Samsung’s 13.5% market share. Total global shipments for Q4 reached 54.8m units, down just 1% YoY, the Motley Fool reported.

Traditional PCs

According to Context, Western Europe commercial PC sales grew 5% YoY in January on the back of strong desktop, notebook, and notebook workstation sales. Consumer sales were down 5% YoY in January. In the UK, business PC sales grew 11.8%, but consumer sales were down 27.2%.

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

Over one trillion semiconductors were sold in 2018, the highest yearly number on record. This helped global semiconductor sales rise 3.7% YoY in 2018 to $468.8bn, the SIA reported.


DRAM revenue dropped 18.3% on the quarter in Q4, Trend Force said, further noting Samsung led the market despite dropping 25.7% to $9.45bn. SK Hynix came in second with a -12.3% QoQ drop to $7.14bn, followed by Micron (-9.2% to $5.37bn, Nanya (-30.8% to $0.55bn) and Winbond (-16.8% to $0.15bn).

In another report, Trendforce said global NAND Flash bit shipments rose 40% YoY in 2018 and revenue up 10.9% YoY to $63.2bn. Looking ahead, TrendForce expects Q1 will fall on the quarter.


According to Seeking Alpha, Seagate revenue fell 9% in Q4 on the quarter $2.71bn. $2.49bn of that came from shipments of 36m HDD units and 8.1m enterprise units. By capacity, Seagate shipped 87.4 exabytes, down 12% on Q3.


According to TrendForce, 32” TV panel prices dropped to below cost in Q4, but are expected to bounce back in March after a clear-out of old stock to rebalance supply and demand.


Total hardcopy printer and MFP sales in Western Europe fell 6.9% YoY in Q4 to 4.8m units, leading to an annual shipment decline of 5.3% YoY, IDC reported. A3 inkjets were a positive light in the gloom, increasing in Q4, while color lasers suffered the biggest losses. By country, UK shipments dropped 7% YoY in Q4 and just -3.7% for the year.

Context had Western Europe’s printer sales through distributors down 0.1% YoY. The UK led the market with sales up 23.5% YoY and revenue up 7.3% YoY, while Austria was hit the hardest, down 36.3% YoY in sales and -16.5% YoY in revenue.

Meanwhile, IDC said global printer shipments fell 4.8% YoY to 26.7m in Q4, with HP leading the market on the back of a 3.6% YoY growth to 10.59m units and 39.6% market share. Canon came in second with -8% YoY to 5.96m units and 22.3% market share, followed by Epson (-15.2% YoY to 4.73m and 17.7% share), Brother (-2.6% YoY to 2.06m and 7.7% share) and Kyocera (+0.9% YoY to 0.52m and 2% share).


Monthly Stats

New Products started at 31, rose to 55 and fell to 5 by Feb 6, recovered, fell, hit 5 again on Feb 12 before jumping from 9 on Feb 15-17 to a high of 190 on Feb 18. Another fall to 19 by Feb 22-24 and a jump to 133 on Feb 25. New Products ended the month down at 28.

For the second month in a row, HP dominated both price increase and price reduction by manufacturer.

Total price increases dropped from 38,670 on Feb 1-3 to 14,473 by Feb 8-10, recovered, held steady, hit 49,278 on Feb 19 and a high of 64,716 by Feb 19, before falling hard, hitting 3,177 on Feb 21, and despite another recovery, bottoming out to a monthly low of 2,456 on Feb 28.

Movements in price decreases per day were similar, starting at 15,007 on Feb 1-3 and jumping to 28,435 on Feb 4, before falling, recovering, hitting a low of 4,960 by Feb 18 and a high of 46,543 on Feb 27, only to fall back to 21,812 at the end of the month.

Stock-up highlights include starting at 11,593, falling to 2,991 by Feb 8-10, hitting a monthly high of 28,075 on Feb 11 and a low of 1,785 on Feb 12, recovering, holding steady and seeing out the month at 4,903.

Stock down highlights include jumping from 16,144 on Feb 1-3 to 21,263 on Feb 4, falling to 12,764 and holding steady there on Feb 7-9, hitting a high of 31,460 on Feb 12 and ending the month down at a low of 10,734.

New Products February 2019

Prices and Stock Movements February 2019