July 2020

Welcome to this month's IT Market Alert from KnowledgeBus. This alert is designed to deliver some key market knowledge viewed during June 2020 that should help you get more from your IT procurement going forwards.


Executive Summary

  • Fortunes in the smartphone market continued to falter.
  • Expect a flat Q3 for notebooks after a buoyant Q2.
  • Printers and external storage sales were both down.


The largest number of price increases happened by June 23rd, with 103,510.

Jump to Monthly Stats

News for the IT channel continued to be grim with red ink across the board. Shipments and revenues were either flat or, in most cases, down YoY across a range of segments as the economic reality of the COVID-19 pandemic continued to set in.

With all that said, macro financial data does provide some solace. The headline index for IHS Markit's flash UK composite PMI, which represents manufacturing and services, rose from 30.0 in May to 47.6 in June, which was the highest since February, indicating a possible return to stability and fuelling hopes for a better Q3. This was mirrored in a higher global manufacturing PMI in June, representing record gains. We're not out of the woods yet, though; business sentiment is still grim and order books are well below levels seen earlier this year. Fingers crossed?


Exchange Rate

The EUR started June at its lowest point for the month against the USD (1.1127), climbing steadily to 1.1319 on Friday June 5. It reached a monthly high of 1.1362 on June 10 before falling to 1.1176 on June 20, broken only by a short rally on June 16. From there, it rose to 1.1296 on June 3 but couldn't sustain its upward momentum and coasted in at 1.1228 on June 30.

The EUR's fortunes against the GBP showed a steady increase for most of the month despite a spiky start. It began at 0.8951 before dipping to 0.8901 the following day and then rising to 0.8966 on June 4. It sunk again to a monthly low of 0.8894 on June 8 before beginning a sustained rally on June 10. This saw it gain consistently, other than a small dip on June 16, to come in strong at 0.9109 at month's end, just off a high of 0.9126 on June 29.

British Pound (GBP) per 1 Euro (EUR)

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 June 2020


Phones and Tablets

Gartner tracked a 20% YoY dip in global smartphone sales during Q1 due to the pandemic, with the top vendors (Samsung, Huawei, Apple, Xiaomi, and OPPO) all seeing double-digit declines. It was the worse decline ever, the company added. Things don't look much better in the future, with one in three respondents to a global Counterpoint survey planning to spend at least 20% less on their next smartphone.

Traditional PCs

The PC gaming market dropped 10.2% YoY in Western Europe during Q1, said IDC, but not because of poor demand. People would love a spot of Red Dead Redemption while fuloughed at home but supplies are the problem; retailers just can't get the high-end notebooks they need. That ties into data from CONTEXT's new COVID-19 price index, which saw notebook selling prices strengthening across Western Europe. This metric takes the average price of each product, indexes it at 100 for week zero of the pandemic, and then tracks it. The index for notebook prices in the UK hit 102.3 12 weeks into the pandemic period.

Pent-up demand should stoke an 11.8% growth in Q2 as supplies pick up, predicted IDC, but the fun times won't last long. Console launches and financial constraints will soften consumer demand in 2H, it warned.

Processors, MEMs, Semiconductors

Semiconductor revenues dropped 2% QoQ in Q1 to $110.1bn from $112.3bn, said Omdia. However, the top ten chip makers avoided red ink, making $63.6bn in Q1 up from $62.2bn. They enjoyed stronger support for endpoint PCs and servers in Q1 driven by the work-from-home trend. The good fortune wasn't easily spread, though; Intel and Broadcom saw revenues fall 1.8% and 2.1% respectively, while Qualcomm bumped sales by a healthy 40.3%.


Memory drove much of the growth that Omdia saw among the top ten chip makers, with the three leaders in that space (Samsung, SK Hynix, and Micron) increasing revenues 1.1% QoQ in Q1. The data processing market drove demand for NAND flash memory in solid-state drives, the company noted.

NAND flash prices were in short supply during the first half of 2020, according to TrendForce, driven by a demand for cloud services and panic buying by some in the supply chain. SSDs dominated demand. The company predicted a reduction in demand for enterprise SSDs but increases in other areas such as retail and smartphones, leading to limited changes in NAND flash prices in Q3.


Western European external storage sales fell 16.5% in dollars YoY in Q1, said IDC, pointing to a particular decline in countries including the UK. All-flash arrays bucked the trend, jumping to 49% of the total market value, although they still slipped 1.6%.

The German market returned to positive territory, but it was not enough to compensate for the heavy declines in the other major countries such as the UK. The outlook for the full year is still negative thanks to the lockdown, and won't rebound until next year, IDC added.

Revenues from purpose-built backup appliances rose 3.3% YoY in Q1 to hit $320.1m, IDC noted. Open systems shipments accounted for that increases, with mainframe backup appliance sales dropping 31.3% in the same period. West Europe was flat, though, with just 0.6% growth YoY to $250.5m. The UK maintained a 26% market share.


Sales of large-format displays, already suffering pre-pandemic, shouldered a further large YoY drop during Q2, CONTEXT observed. Sales plummeted 46% during the first five weeks of Q2, affecting almost every country in Western Europe. The UK was the third hardest hit, seeing a 67.1% fall in revenues.

Things looked better for other display categories. LED video display shipments expanded 18.8% YoY during Q1 to 255,648 square metres from 215,148, said Omdia. TFT displays sized larger than nine inches also look set for a modest recovery, it said. That market fell 4% YoY during Q1, but the company expects shipments to increase 5% YoY in Q2. The growth will come mainly from IT devices rather than TVs, with 2020 sales set to hit $771.6m up from $770.5m. Expect a 20% surge in TV panel displays to 45.8m in Q3 from a dismal 38.3m in Q2, it concluded.


Industrial and large format printer shipments took a tumble in Q1 2020, said IDC, after two solid growth years in the industrial inkjet segment. Shipments were down 32% worldwide YoY in Q1, and shipment values declined 31.5% YoY in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. Still, it isn't all bleak. Expect shipment growth for the year as the industry bounces back, the company said.

May saw the consumer printer market dominate while the commercial market suffered, said CONTEXT. Consumer sales comprised 41.1% of revenues across Europe and Russia in May, the company observed, compared to 26.9% in May 2019. Businesses should expect sales to pick up as the lockdown eases and people return to work during the second half of 2020. Overall volumes fell 27.2% in the UK YoY during May.

Network Products

IDC notednoted an 18.9% YoY drop in UK enterprise Ethernet switch revenues during Q1, which was higher than the Western Europe average of 12.9%. Worldwide revenues dropped 8.9% to $6.16bn, the company said. Enterprise and service provider routers fared worse, with worldwide revenues dropping 16.4%. Again, Western Europe bore the brunt of the bad news, with revenues in this segment falling 23.5%.


Monthly Stats

Price increases spiked near the start of the month from 21,579 on June 1 to 38,457 on June 2. From there, things were relatively stable for three weeks other than a brief rise to 20,894 on June 8. The third week of the month was where the real action was, with a sharp rise to 103,510 on June 23 before a dive to a monthly low of 7,811 on June 25. From there, price increases jumped to 31,887 on June 29 before settling back to form at the end of the month.

Price decreases followed a broadly similar path, rising to 35,328 on June 2, although they saw a double spike to reach 35,237 on June 9 and 26,747 on June 11. The big spike in price decreases lagged the corresponding spike in price increases by a business day, reaching 96,434 on June 24 before falling to 9,680 the following day. HP led price increases and decreases for the month.

Stock increases interrupted an unremarkable month with a bump to a high of 23,604 on June 9 and another modest spike to 12,349 on June 24. Stock decreases saw their bumps on June 10 to 29,496 and again on June 25, reaching 19,659.

New Products June 2020

Prices and Stock Movements June 2020