June 2021

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 May 2021 that should help you get more from your IT procurement going forwards.


Executive Summary

  • Smartphone sales grow 26% globally
  • Semiconductor shortage to continue into 2022
  • Enterprise networking sales post strong recovery in Europe


The largest number of price increases happened by May 10th, with 41,046.

Jump to Monthly Stats

The IT channel saw strong growth in key areas in April, with smartphones and PCs faring especially well. Computer monitors also showed excellent performance. The ongoing supply shortage continues to bite the channel, however, threatening its ability to mount a sustained, strong recovery.

Reflecting uncertain times, CONTEXT predicted that European IT channel revenues will grow between 7-10% YoY in Q2, depending on supply chain constraints. The EU's €1.8tn recovery fund will stoke investments in digital products and services, the company said, buoying up the market.


Exchange Rate

The EUR/USD enjoyed a strong month, beginning at 1.2018 before dipping quickly to its monthly low of 1.2006 on May 5. From there it spiked quickly to 1.2162 on May 8, plateauing briefly before dropping sharply from May 11 through 13, when it hit 1.2079. Then it enjoyed a bumpy rally, finally hitting its peak of 1.2243 on May 25. Then it lost some value in the final week of May, coasting to the month's end at 1.2207.

The euro's fortunes against the pound were the inverse of its month against the dollar. It began at a high of 0.8692, dipping quickly to 0.8634 on May 5. Then it rebounded, hitting its original high on May 8 before plummeting to its monthly low of 0.8584 on May 12. It didn't recover its momentum on the subsequent rally, instead hitting three humps on May 14, 20, and 25 when it reached 0.8645. Then it ran out of steam, falling sharply to 0.8585 before recovering slightly to end the month at 0.8600.

British Pound (GBP) per 1 Euro (EUR)

The euro was riding a dollar depressed by fears of an interest rate hike caused by higher inflation rates. The pound meanwhile benefited from positive UK jobs data.

US Dollar (USD) per 1 Euro (EUR)

Euro (EUR) per 1 British Pound (GBP)

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

Price Changes and News Through May 2021


Phones and Tablets

Gartner reported a 26% bump in global smartphone sales during Q1 2021, reaching 377.9m. There is a caveat, though: The base for comparison was lower in Q1 2020, when the world was reeling from the onset of the pandemic. Samsung topped the rankings with an 18.4% market share, followed by Apple, which dropped out of the number one slot it occupied in Q4, accounting for 13.6%, and Xiaomi with 9.9%.

IDC noted a strong EMEA market for smartphones in spite of fresh lockdowns. Q1 2021 saw a 20.9% YoY rise in shipments to reach $93m units. Revenues rose 29%, the company added. Samsung led in Europe with 32.8% market share in shipments, followed by Xiaomi (14.4%) and Transsion at 14%. Apple came in fourth with 13.3% of the shipments.

Traditional PCs

The EMEA market looks set for its fifth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth, according to IDC. Shipments of desktops, notebooks, and workstations will reach 99.7m this year overall, representing a 19.8% YoY growth. Q2 will see 24.4m of those shipments, representing a 17.2% YoY increase. In Western Eureope, commercial sales will grow 12.5% YoY in Q2, and will enjoy double-digit growth in Q3. Consumer sales will fare even better in Q2, growing 33.7% YoY, the company reported.

CONTEXT warned of a slowdown in notebook sales across Europe as demand outpaced supply.

Premium Ultramobiles & Wearables

Smaller companies stoked growth in the worldwide wearables market during Q1, according to IDC. Companies shipped 104.6m units in the period, up 34.4% from 77.8m. Most of this growth - which drove quarterly shipments above 100m for the first time - came from smaller companies. Indian company BoAt, which sells earwear, grew 326% YoY. The wearables market is also expanding with a range of new subcategories including fitness tracking rings, wearable patches, and audio glasses.

Smartwatch shipments continue to do well, with Counterpoint Research tracking a 35% YoY jump in shipments during Q1 2021. Apple saw a 50% YoY increase in demand for its Series 6 watches, which saw its market share rise 3.3 points to 33.5%.

Processors, MEMs, Semiconductors

Counterpoint expected a 21% CAGR in the average wafer capacity among non-memory integrated circuit fabs between 2021-2027. This is a product of increased activity in areas outside the Taiwan semiconductor hub, which is a reaction to increased political uncertainties in the region, not to mention climate-related concerns as Taiwan endures an industry-harming drought.

In the meantime, we can expect device shortages from the chip supply chain crisis to continue into Q2 next year, warned Gartner. The company said that substrate capacity constraints could continue until Q4 of that year.


According to TrendForce, DRAM market performance outpaced expectations in Q1 with an 8.7% increase in revenue to $19.2bn. Rising DRAM prices were the primary revenue driver, as manufacturers responded to increased demand from segments including server manufacturers and smartphones, with vendors there stocking up to hedge against the risk of landing on the US restricted entity list.


TrendForce noted a 5.1% QoQ increase in NAND flash revenues to $14.82bn in Q1. Unlike in the DRAM space, though, bit shipments stoked the rise in returns, increasing by 11%. The ASP dropped by 5%. Data centre operators and server OEMs have bouyed up the market. The analyst company tracked a NAND flash shortage in Q2, leading to rising prices that will push revenues higher.


TrendForce predicted that monitor shipments will reach 150m units in 2021 due to strong pandemic-related demand, up 7.3% from 140m in 2021. Shipments in Q1 rose 34.1%, and will exceed 10% for Q2, it added. Gaming monitors are still doing well, and will make up 17.3% of shipments this year, the market watcher said. Samsung is leading the pack in terms of shipment growth, with a projected 20% growth YoY. Expect a surge in monitor retail prices in Q2 due to rising demand and supply strain constraints that continue to bite this sector. Panel supply fell short of demand by 11% in Q1, the company warned.


IDC tracked double-digit YoY growth in the global hard copy peripherals market during Q1, with shipments increasing 19.3% YoY to 25.5m units. Western Europe saw shipments grow 18.9% to 5.15m units, driven mostly by low-end devices. The company reported that the UK was one of the strongest performers in Western Europe during Q1 on the shipment side, enjoying a 29.9% bump. However, market values contracted by double digits. Lower-cost inkjet shipments increased by a third, while higher-value A3 MFP shipments dropped by a third, the company said.


CONTEXT saw that over one billion pages were printed by ink tank devices in Q1, almost double the 600,000 printed during the same period in 2020. That bucked a market trend that saw an 11% YoY reduction in printed pages overall during Q1. Manufacturers have been struggling with ink cartridge supply shortages over the last year, which could have spurred a move to tanks, it said.

Network Products

CONTEXT noted a 19% growth in enterprise networking sales across Europe in April, following a 4.3% bump in March. The UK lagged Spain, France, Italy, and Germany with a still-healthy 13.3% growth for the month. Across Europe, wireless products performed best with a 37.9% YoY growth, while switching grew at 16.3%. Switches fared badly in the UK, though, which saw a 2.6% YoY decline in switching revenues during April.


Monthly Stats

Price increases saw an early bump that affected almost all other indicators, rising to 21,596 on May 3. Their high came on May 10, when they hit 41,046. They saw two other pronounced tops, hitting 30,848 on May 21 and 30,744 on May 27. The low came on May 13 when they hit 4,989.

# Price decreases hit their low along with all variables other than price increases, on May 4, when they fell to 3,298. They rose immediately to the first of five distinct peaks, hitting 34,798 on May 5. Other highs were 34,834 on May 12, 34,090 on May 19, 35,878 on May 25, and the month's end, where they hit 34,864.

Stock up hit its low of 439 on May 4, then rising to its high of 7,902 on May 6. Stock down saw its own high of 17,064 early on May 3.

New Products May 2021

Prices and Stock Movements May 2021