April 2018

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


Executive Summary

  • Samsung to release its most expensive smartphone
  • Western Europe PC sales down
  • Monitor shipments on the up


The largest number of price increases happened on Marchnd to the 6th, with 40,962.

Jump to Monthly Stats

With Q1 traditionally a quiet period for the IT channel, this month’s reports looked at forecasts for the year ahead. Notably, monitor and PC shipments look set for a decline, just as wearables, SSD adoption and industrial 3D printing are forecast for growth.


Exchange Rate

After a promising start it was all downhill for the euro against the pound this month. Starting at 0.8874 and rising strongly to 0.8938 by Mar 7, the euro then fell, eventually hitting a low of 0.8724 by Mar 22. A small recovery followed, ending the month at 0.8789.

British Pound (GBP) per 1 Euro (EUR)

It was more mixed against the US dollar. Starting at 1.2204 and jumping to 1.2413 on Mar 4, the euro dropped, recovered, fell again and then slowly rose to 1.2421 by Mar 27. Another drop saw the euro sitting at 1.2321 on Mar 31.

US Dollar (USD) per 1 Euro (EUR)

Euro (EUR) per 1 British Pound (GBP)

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

All reports this month pointed to the news that after a bumper end to 2017, the eurozone’s PMI dropped to an eight-month low in March, down from 58.6 in February to 56.6. Brexit negotiations contributed to Britain’s Q1 manufacturing slowdown.

Price Changes and News Through March 2018


Phones and Tablets

According to IHS, rising DRAM and NAND flash prices will see the cost of materials for new 64GB Samsung Galaxy S9+ increase $43 per unit from last year’s GS8+ to $375.80 per unit.

TrendForce says full-screen smartphones will rise rapidly from 8.7% in 2017 to 44.6% in 2018, and eventually 92.1% market saturation by 2021. In another report, the company said that it expects 3D sensing adoption to grow from 2.1% in 2017 to 13.1% in 2018, with Apple leading the market.

Apple is looking to the education sector to bolster up the future of its iPad, further taking on Google Chromebooks with the announcement of a new $299 student price device.

Traditional PCs

According to IDC, Western Europe’s personal computing market (desktops, notebooks, workstations and tablets) will fall 3.3% YoY in 2018 to 76.3m units and another 3% YoY in 2019 to 74m units.

Driven by the -6.2% consumer segment, some positive news comes by the way of commercial notebooks and detachable tablets that will help see commercial shipments up 0.8% YoY in 2018.

In other news, Context said the sales of PC workstations in Western Europe grew 11% YoY for the first two months of the year. The Netherlands topped the list with 38% YoY, while the UK reported a steady 9%. Total workstation sales accounted for just 2% of all PCs sold, and 5% of all revenue.

Premium Ultramobiles/Wearables

The global wearable market grew 7.7% YoY in Q4 2017 to 37.9m units, helping take 2017 annual shipments up 10.3% YoY 115.4m units, IDC reported. In breaking down the numbers, Apple led Q4 with 57.5% YoY growth to 8m units shipped and 21% market share, above Fitbit’s -17.3% YoY to 5.4m units. Xiaomi came in third with -4.5% YoY to 4.9m units.

In another report, IDC predicted that global wearable shipments would reach 132.9m units in 2018, up 15.1% YoY, and continue to grow at 13.4% to 219.4m units by 2022. Smartwatches are expected to dominate the market, growing to account for almost 40% of all shipments by 2022.

Processors, MEMs, Semiconductors

Global semiconductor were sales up 21% YoY in February to $36.8bn, but down 2.2% on January 2018, the SIA reported. By region, the Americas led with 37.7% YoY growth but fell 4.3% on the month, while Europe enjoyed +21.7% YoY and +0.9% on the month.

Apple has announced its working on inhouse processors for its Mac line, that could be in use from 2020 and potentially wipe $4bn in sales from Intel.


Samsung’s DRAM chip sales accounted for 70% of its Q1 $13.7bn profit, the company announced. Micron has started building a new facility in Singapore that, once completed in mid-2019, will allow the chipmaker to expand its 3D NAND capacity. Samsung has also announced it will double NAND flash production capacity in China with $7bn investment and once complete, add 220,000 wafers per month for use in 3D NAND.


After a lower than expected adoption rate of 45% for SSD in notebooks in 2017 on the back of higher prices in 2H, TrendForce expects SSD adoption to increase to over 50% in 2018, with lower contract prices to help achieve the result. 256GB SSD is expected to be mainstream for 2018, while 512GB will become the norm in 2019 and 2020.


Global monitor shipments reached 31.7m units in Q4, up 2.5% YoY. According to IDC, Q4 2018 is forecast to decline 3.6% YoY to 30.6m units, and annual shipments to fall at a 2% rate from 116m in 2018 to 112m units by 2022.

Meanwhile, TrendForce said global PC monitor panel shipments grew 3% YoY in 2017 to 314.94m pieces, and expects another 3.6% YoY growth for 2018, while Context reported the UK enjoyed a 12.8% YoY growth in revenue from business-targeted monitors sales and contributed to Western Europe’s 6% YoY growth.


According to ReportsnReports, the evolution of the global industrial 3D printer market is expected to grow in value from $1.73bn to $5.66bn by 2023, at an annual rate of 27.21%.


Monthly Stats

New products started at 471 and immediately dropped to a low of 2 by March 5. After a series of minor rises and falls, new products jumped from 16 on Mar 16-18 to 2,899 on March 19 and 3,654 on March 20, before falling, stabilizing and ending the month at 145.

Zebra Technologies topped price increases while Cisco led price reductions by manufacturer.

Price increases per day started at 22,107, jumped to 27,676 on March 2-4, and again to 40,962 by Mar 6 before falling, after a series of movements, to a low of 3,758 on Mar 14. This trend continued, until eventually falling from 30,601 on March 28 to 15,639 on March 29.

Total price decreases per day started at 16,327, dropped to a low of 5,729 on March 2-4, recovered and held steady, before peaking at 42,350 on March 20, falling and ending the month down at 10,504.

Stock up highlights include starting at 3,209, hitting a high of 6,523 on March 7 and holding steady until falling back to 3,228 on March 29.

Similarly, stock down fell from 16,219 on Mar 1 to 13,004 on Mar 2-4, recovered and held steady, before hitting a high of 16,802 on March 27 and ending the month down at 15,337.

New Products March 2018

Prices and Stock Movements March 2018