January 2019

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 December 2018 that should help you get more from your IT procurement going forwards.


Executive Summary

  • Smartphones are down but growth forecast
  • DRAM contract prices in decline
  • Gaming monitors post 100% YoY growth


The largest number of price increases happened by December 3rd, with 49,199.

Jump to Monthly Stats

This month’s reports showed a negative end to 2018 but a positive outlook on the future. Across the board, smartphones, tablets, PCs, DRAM, displays and printers all posted mixed reviews while it was all good news for semiconductors, wearables and enterprise storage.


Exchange Rate

It was good news for the euro against both GBP and USD currencies this month.

Against the GBP, the euro started at 0.8867 and rose sharply to 0.9036 by Dec 11, dipped, recovered and fell to 0.8967 by Dec 25 before hitting 0.0931 on Dec 28 and ending the month at 0.8985.

British Pound (GBP) per 1 Euro (EUR)

Against the USD, the euro rose from 1.1314 to 1.1368 by Dec 4, dropped, jumped to 1.1399 by Dec 10, fell to a low of 1.1300 on Dec 15-16, rose to 1.1431 by Dec 20, fell, hit a high of 1.1449 by Dec 28 before dropping slightly to see out the month at 1.1444.

US Dollar (USD) per 1 Euro (EUR)

Euro (EUR) per 1 British Pound (GBP)

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

The euro celebrated its 20th birthday on December 30, 2018. Despite the cause for celebration, Reuters noted inflation dropped to 1.6% for December, down from 1.9% in November and lower than an expected 1.8%. PMI also fell 0.4 on the month to 51.4, in its lowest since February 2016.

Price Changes and News Through December 2018


Phones and Tablets

Foldable smartphones are set to enter the global market in 2019 with TrendForce predicting market penetration of 1.5% by 2021.

Huawei and Xiaomi drove global Q3 smartphone sales to 389m units and a 1.4% YoY growth. Without these two vendors and their expansion in emerging markets, Gartner said global shipments would have ended down 5.2% YoY.

Global smartphone shipments by assembly volume dropped 4.4% YoY in Q3 on the back of weak channel demand. According to IDC, 355.8m units were shipped, bringing the total for the first three quarters over the 1bn mark and putting it on par with 2017.

In another report, IDC said global smartphone shipments will decline 3% in 2018 before rising again in 2019 and continue through to 2022. By the numbers, the IDC report suggest global 2018 shipments will reach 1.42bn units, down from 1.47bn in 2017 and grow to 1.57bn units in 2019.

Android continued its dominance with 85.1% of the market, ahead of Apple’s iOS in second with 14.8% of the market. Android is expected to achieve 1.7% CAGR YoY to 2022 while the iPhone will post a relataively small 5-year CAGR of 0.1% through 2022.

In tablet news, global tablet shipments including both slates and detachables will drop 3.5% YoY from 149.2m units in 2018 to 129.4m units by 2022. In Western Europe, total tablet shipments will achieve minor growth through on the back of detachable units, up from 30.43m to 30.73m units from 2018-2022.

Traditional PCs

Western Europe PC shipments including desktops, notebooks and tablets dropped 3.3% YoY in 2018 to 76.3m units. According to IDC, the market will drop another 3% in 2019 to 74m units and continue at 1.8% until 69.69m units shipped by 2022.

Detatchable tablets, ultra slim and convertible notebooks and all-in-one desktops are expected to enjoy some growth, while slate tablets and traditional notebooks and desktops all set for big declines.

On a global scale, the PC market fell 3.9% YoY in 2018 and is expected to decline at the same rate of 1.8% YoY to 378.3m units by 2022. According to the IDC report, detachable tablets and some notebooks will prove the only shining light in another negative facing market.

Premium Ultramobiles & Wearables

Global VR shipments will grow 29% YoY in 2019 from to 4.65m to 6m units, while Sony will continue to lead the market at 2.2m units. HTC will reach 0.8m and the three Oculus devices (Rift, Go and Quest) will combine to total 1.7m units, TrendForce reported.

Global wearable shipments rose 21.7% YoY in Q3 to 32m units, IDC reported. Xiaomi led the market with 90.9% YoY growth to 6.9m units, followed by Apple (+54% to 4.2m) and Fitbit (-3.1% to 3.5m). Huawei and Samsung rounded out the top five.

Processors, MEMs, Semiconductors

Global semiconductor sales rose 9.8% YoY but dropped 1.1% on the month in November to $41.4bn. According to the SIA report, all regions posted significant YoY growth, including China’s 17.4%, the Americas’ 8.8% and Europe’s 5.8%. The decline on the month was caused by the Americas (-2.2%) and China (-2.7) with all other regions achieving growth.


Global DRAM contract prices dropped 10% in Q4 on the quarter, leading to major suppliers slowing their 2019 capacity expansions to help offset the price fall, TrendForce announced.

Because of this TrendForce has predicted that DRAM contract prices will drop another 10% 1H 2019.


According to IDC, global enterprise storage systems rose 19.4% YoY to $14bn in Q3 with capacity shipments up 57.3% YoY to 113.9 exabytes. Dell topped the vendor list ahead of HP, NetApp, Hitachi and Huawei, with IMB, Lenovo and Inspur just behind.


Despite global TV shipments falling flat in Q3, IHS said large high-def screens continued to take over the market with 60”+ panels growing more than 40% YoY.

Global gaming monitor shipments grew 100% YoY in 2018 to 5.1m units, TrendForce reported. ASUS led the market ahead of Acer, AOC/Phillips and Samsung.


According to IDC, global printer shipments dropped 1.2% YoY in Q3 to 24.96m units. HP (-2.9% YoY to 10.18m and 40.8% share) led the market ahead of Canon, Epson, Brother and Kyocera Group. Only Canon and Kyocera enjoyed YoY growth.

Network Products

Shipments of Wi-Fi chipsets supporting the new 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) standard will break 1bn by 2022, predicts ABI Research, even though the first commercial deployments will only begin rolling out this year.


Monthly Stats

New products started the month at 34, rising to 7,460 on Dec 6. From there, it fell back to 70 on Dec 10 and then rose again to hit peaks of 158 and 298 on Dec 12 and Dec 17 respectively. It ended the month at 1.

HP topped the price increase and decrease charts at 67,067 and 49,506 respectively. Price increases started at a high of 49,199, and reached their low of 3,741 on December 26. They hit their second high of 42,225 on December 31. Price decreases started the month at 5,389, rising to a high of 30,861 on Dec 14. They ranged until December 27, when they hit a monthly low of 107, finishing December at 8,636.

Stock down peaked at 17,861 on Dec 3, falling to a low of 1,71 on Dec 27th. Stock up’s height came later on Dec 18, at 10,683. It also reached its low on Dec 27 at 779.

New Products December 2018

Prices and Stock Movements December 2018