February 2019

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


Executive Summary

  • Smartphones are down
  • Semiconductor revenue hits a snag in December
  • DRAM oversupply continues prices decline


The largest number of price increases happened on January 28th, with 35,976.

Jump to Monthly Stats

The IT channel was on the negative side again this month, with reports indicating 2018 was a year of decline and the outlook for 2019 not much better.

Smartphone, tablet and PC shipments are down, Apple’s hold on the smart watch market is slipping, DRAM prices continue to fall, and even the euro struggled against both currencies this month. 3D printers, panels and annual semiconductor revenue proved the only bright light.


Exchange Rate

What started out okay turned into a nightmare month for the euro against the GBP in January. The euro started at 0.8978 and rose to 0.9037 by Jan 3, dipped and recovered, before falling hard, hitting 0.8803 by Jan 18 and 0.8836 by Jan 26-27. A slight rise saw the euro end the month at 0.8746

British Pound (GBP) per 1 Euro (EUR)

It was less depressing against the USD. The euro started at 1.1461, dropped to 1.1374 by Jan 3, recovered and rose to a high 1.1529 on Jan 10, only to then steadily fall, hitting 1.1461 on Jan 12 all the way down to a low of 1.1348 by Jan 24. A recovery soon followed, eventually ending the month up, at 1.1477 on Jan 31.

US Dollar (USD) per 1 Euro (EUR)

Euro (EUR) per 1 British Pound (GBP)

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

News this month wasn’t great for the economy either, notably with Italy falling into recession and PMI dropping to 51.1, the first time in four years business demand has fallen in four years.

Price Changes and News Through January 2019


Phones and Tablets

Global smartphone shipments fell 4.9% YoY in Q4 to 375.4m units and a further -4.1% YoY for 2018 to 1.4bn units, IDC reported.

Samsung topped the Q4 vendor list despite dropping 5.5% YoY to 70.4m units and 18.7% market share. Apple came in at second, with -11.5% YoY to 68.4m units and 18.2% share, followed by Huawei (+43.9% to 60.5m and 16.1%), OPPO (+6.8% to 29.2m and 7.8%) and Xiaomi (+1.4% to 28.6m and 7.6%).

Similarly, despite its -8% YoY change, Samsung topped the 2018 vendor list with 292.3m units shipped and 20.8% market share, ahead of Apple (-3.2% to 208.8m), Huawei (+33.6% to 206m), Xiaomi (+32.2% to 122.6m) and OPPO (+1.3% to 113.1m).

TrendForce noted global smartphone production volumes reached 383m units in Q4 and expects Q1 volumes to drop a further 10% to 307m units. Further, TrendForce has forecast global smartphone production to drop 3.3% YoY in 2019 to 1.41bn units.

In other news, Android will drive 5G smartphone adoption, set to reach 0.4% of the market in 2019, TrendForce said.

According to Strategy Analytics, global tablet shipments dropped 1% in Q4 on the quarter and 6% YoY for 2018 to 178.3m units. Apple was the top vendor for both Q4 and annual tablet shipments, with 14.5m and 44.9m respectively, ahead of Samsung (7.5m and 23.1m), Amazon (5.5m and 11.9m), Huawei (4.6m and 15.4m) and Lenovo (2.3m and 8.8m). Samsung’s Q4 results were its first growth since 2014.

Traditional PCs

Gartner said global PC shipments fell 4.3% YoY in Q4 to 68.6m units and fell 1.3% YoY for 2018 to 259.4m units. According to the report, Lenovo toped the Q4 market with 5.9% YoY growth to 16.62m units and 24.2% market share, ahead of HP (-4.4% to 15.38m and 22.4%) and Dell (+1.4% to 10.91m and 15.9%). Apple and Ass rounded out the top five.

Lenovo also led the market for 2018 shipments, registering 6.9% YoY growth to 58.46m units and 22.5% market share. HP came in number two with +2.1% to 56.33m and 21.7%, followed by Dell (+5.3% to 41.91m and 16.2%), Apple (-5% to 18.01m and 6.9%) and Acer in fifth (-7.9% to 15.72m and 6.1%).

PC shipments to EMEA fell 5.8% YoY in Q4 to 19.6m units, with Western Europe alone registering -4.7% YoY on the back of an 11.5% YoY decline in consumers sales. According to IDC, Overall, HP topped the vendor list with 5.47m units, down 6.8%, ahead of Lenovo (1.8% to 4.7m), Dell (+5.8% to 2.66m) and Acer (-3.2% to 1.56m).

Premium Ultramobiles & Wearables

Apple’s share in the smart watch market is on the decline, ABI Research said, with 2H results dropping below 45%. Demand and competition are set to challenge Apple’s grasp on the market.

Processors, MEMs, Semiconductors

According to the SIA, global semiconductor sales increased $468.8bn for 2018, up 13.7% YoY, despite December posting only +0.6% YoY and -7% on the month at $38.2bn.

By region, all posted positive annual YoY growth, led by China (20.5%), the Americas (16.4%) and (Europe 12.1%), while for December, only China (5.8%), Europe (2.8%) and Japan (2.3%) posted YoY growth. All regions were down compared to November 2018.

Gartner on the other hand said global semiconductor revenue reached $476.7bn for 2018, up 13.4% YoY. According to the report, Samsung was the top vendor with 26.7% YoY growth to $75.85bn and 15.9% market share, ahead of Intel (+12.2% to $65.86bn and 13.8%), SK Hynix (+38.2% to $36.43bn and 7.6%), Micron (+33.8% to $30.64bn and 6.4%) and Broadcom (+7.4% to $15.38bn and 3.5%).


Despite some stability in November to December, the DRAM market is in for a bigger hit than expected with prices set to fall nearly 20% in Q1, TrendForce reported.

Meanwhile, oversupply in 2018 and its lead into 2019 will see NAND flash producers cut capital expenditure by 2% YoY in 2019, to a value of $22bn.


According to a report by Forbes, global HDD shipments fell 9.7% on the quarter in Q4 to 87.7m units. Meanwhile, Seagate announced its Q2 financial results, which stated net income of $384m and revenue at $2.72bn.


Global branded TV sets grew 4.1% YoY to 219m units in 2018, TrendForce reported, with 2019 looking to grow anther 1.6% to 223m units noting a full recovery from 2017’s weak demand.

The report also noted differentiation was now a primary focus in the market, with 8K, mini LED, dual cell designs and borderless update options.

In other news, despite concerns of global oversupply, TFT LCD panels posted 10.6% YoY growth for 2019 to 197.9m square meters, IHS reported.


IDC has forecast global spending on 3D printing covering all things hardware, materials, software and services, will grow 21.2% YoY to reach $13.8bn in 2019, and continue to grow at 19.1% to $22.7bn by 2022. Printers are expected to account for $5.3bn of that, with materials coming in at $4.2bn.

Meanwhile, Context said industrial 3D printer shipments grew 27% YoY in 2018 while desktop fell 13% YoY.


Monthly Stats

New products started at 0, rose to 30 and fell to 6 before hitting a monthly high of 310 on Jan 4-6. A fall to 2 and rise to 61 followed, with this rise and fall trend continuing throughout the rest of month, including the jump from 3 on Jan 29 to 276 by Jan 31.

HP dominated both price increase and price reduction by manufacturer.

Total price increases dropped from 17,581 on Jan 1 to 9,709 on Jan 2 before recovering, falling and holding steady. This movement continued, until falling to a low of 3,358 on Jan 25-27, hitting a high of 35,976 on Jan 28 and ending the month up at 34,050.

Price decreases per day proved opposite, starting at 19,627 and jumping to 28,805 on Jan 2, before falling, holding steady, hitting a low of 3,248 by Jan 17 and a high of 57,748 on Jan 29. Price decreases then ended the month down at 7,188.

Stock up highlights include starting at 778, jumping to 7,221 by Jan 4-6, hitting a high of 27,178 on Jan 21 and ending the month at 4,671.

Stock down dropped from 6,641 on Jan 1 to a monthly low of 3,252 on Jan 2, only to recover and sit between 11,000 and 16,000 for the rest of the month, except for Jan 22, when it a high of 32,942. Stock down finished the month up at 15,347.

New Products January 2019

Prices and Stock Movements January 2019