May 2017

Welcome to this month's IT Market Alert from KnowledgeBus. This alert is designed to deliver some key market knowledge viewed during March - April 2017 that should help you get more from your IT procurement going forwards.


Executive Summary

  • iPhone 6S out-ships all other smartphone models
  • Semiconductor sales up YoY but down on the month
  • Flexible AMOLED displays to outsell rigid by Q3
  • 4K panel shipments pass 30% saturation
  • Western Europe PC sales enjoy growth
  • Semiconductor revenue up YoY but down on the quarter


The largest number of price increases happened on April 11, with 41,397 rises in a single day.

Jump to Monthly Stats

For every positive there was a negative in the IT channel during March. Wearable shipments are booming while PC sales are sliding, semiconductor revenues are both up and down, flash shortages continue to drive up prices, average panel sizes are growing yet LCD shipments are falling, the printer market experienced growth while storage shipments dropped and the euro started strongly but fell against both currencies.

It was a relatively positive month for the IT channel in April. Global smartphone shipments achieved growth, Western Europe PC sales and printer shipments are up, semiconductor revenue set to reach new heights, 3D NAND to become the norm, 4K panels reached 33% of all LCD panel shipments, and the euro ended the month strongly against the USD.


Exchange Rate

In March

Starting at 0.8546 and rising steadily to 0.8769 by Mar 11, the euro then fell against the GBP, eventually hitting 0.8631 by Mar 23. A small rise to 0.8682 on Mar 29 was dashed as the euro took a sharp dive to end the month at 0.8554.

British Pound (GBP) per 1 Euro (EUR)

Against the USD, the euro started at 1.0553, dropped, rose to 1.0617 by Mar 4 and fell again. A jump to 1.0678 on Mar 13 was followed by another fall. Steady rises then followed, eventually reaching 1.0860 on Mar 27, where it dived to 1.0682 by Mar 31.

Unemployment in the eurozone dropped to a near eight-year low in February, BBC said. Falling 0.1% to 9.5%, the lowest since May 2009, Czech Republic (3.4%) and Germany (3.9%) had the lowest rates while Spain (18%) and Greece (23.1%) had the highest.

Manufacturing also reached levels not seen since April 2011, BBC and Reuters reported, with the purchasing managers’ index reaching 56.2 (up from 55.4 in February). Inflation on the other hand slowed more than expected to sit at 1.5% for March, down from 2% in February. The ECB says it was caused by temporary factors such as lower oil and food prices, that will reverse in April.

US Dollar (USD) per 1 Euro (EUR)

Euro (EUR) per 1 British Pound (GBP)

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

In April

Starting at 0.8483 and rising to its monthly high of 0.8562 on Apr 5, the euro then gradually fell against the GBP, eventually hitting a low of 0.8360 by Apr 19. After a few flat days, then euro jumped to 0.8503 by Apr 25, only to fall again, to 0.8409 on Apr 30.

British Pound (GBP) per 1 Euro (EUR)

Despite a slow start the euro ended up against the USD in April. Starting at 1.0650 and staying flat until dropping to 1.0587 by Apr 8, the euro slowly rose to 1.0722 by Apr 23, jumped to a month high of 1.0910 on Apr 26, and ended the month at 1.0891.

The eurozone economy is firing at the moment, with the Purchasing Managers Index reaching a six-year high at 56.7 in April, the Nation reported. Reuters echoed this, adding the PMI was up 0.4 on March and manufacturing is growing at a 4-5% annual rate. In another report Reuters said the eurozone had performed stronger than the US in Q1 noting gross domestic products were up 0.5% and on track for 1.8% annual growth.

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 March and April, 2017


Phones and Tablets

In March

Apple’s iPhone 6S, 7, 7 Plus and 6S Plus, respectively, were the top four smartphone models shipped globally in 2016. According to IHS, Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge came in at fifth, and the company also took six, eighth, ninth and tenth place with its mid-tier J models. The only other model in the top ten was Oppo’s A53, in seventh.

Chinese vendor Oppo’s rise on the back of a 109% shipment growth in 2016 took the company to fourth spot for the world’s largest smartphone maker by shipment, behind Apple, Samsung and Huawei. 80% of Oppo models were shipped to its domestic Chinese customers.

In April

Global smartphone shipments rose 4.3% YoY in Q1 2017 to 347.4m units, IDC reported. Samsung claimed top spot with 79.2m units (0% YoY change) and 22.8% market share, followed by Apple (+0.8% to 51.6m & 14.9% share), Huawei (+21.7% to 34.2m & 9.8%), OPPO (+29.8% to 25.6m & 7.4%) and Vivo (+23.6% to 18.1m & 5.2%).

Despite shipments being up, TrendForce noted global smartphone production volumes were down 23% on the quarter in Q1 2017 to 307m units.

In Europe, IDC said Russia had the highest volume per country for 2016 with 30.66m smartphones sold, with volume up 8.6% to 42.4m units and dollar value up 12.8% to $5.33bn.

In other news, IHS said the basic cost of manufacturing the new Samsung Galaxy S8 will be the company’s highest on record at $307.50, while by the end of 2017, IHS said 3.4b active smartphones will be Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay ready.

Traditional PCs

In March

Soft consumer performance and weaker commercial desktop sales have driven Western Europe’s PC total volume sales down 4% YoY for the first two months of the year. According to a report by Context, commercial notebook sales enjoyed 3% YoY growth, the only bright spark in an otherwise dim time for PCs in the region.

In April

Global PC shipments fell 2.4% YoY to 62.2m units in Q1 2017, the first time since 2007 global shipments were below 63m units. According to Gartner, the business market enjoyed some growth but was offset by a consumer market decline. Lenovo just edged HP for top spot by 0.4% of the market with 12.37m units and 19.9% market share.

IDC on the other hand said global PC shipments rose 0.6% YoY in Q1 to 60.3m units, the first time the market has experienced any growth since Q1 2012.

In Western Europe, the traditional PC market posted a 3.1% YoY growth in Q1, IDC reported, with notebooks (9.2%) and the French (8.2%) and German (5.8%) markets driving YoY growth success. The UK on the other hand fell 7.9%.

According to Context, mini PC sales in Western Europe grew 26% YoY in Q1 2017 which upped their share to 25% of the PC market. This was a bright spark in what was an otherwise negative period with desktop sales dropping 10% YoY, the report noted Ireland’s YoY desktop sales dropped 42%, followed by UK (-23.6%) and Sweden (-21.5%), while Spain (13.1%), the Netherlands (13%) and Denmark (3.9%) were the only countries to achieve positive desktop sales growth.

Premium Ultramobiles/Wearables

In March

Global wearable shipments reached an all-time high in Q4 up 16.9% YoY to 33.9m units and up 25% YoY for 2016 to 102.4m units. According to IDC, Fitbit maintained top spot in Q4 despite a 22.7% YoY drop to 6.5m units. Xiaomi (5.2m units shipped), Apple (4.6m), Garmin (2.1m) and Samsung (1.9m) rounded out the top five vendors.

Looking ahead, IDC has forecast wristwear to maintain its dominance on the wearable market. With total global shipments of wearables set to reach 237.5m units by 2021 (up from 102.4m in 2016), smartwatches will grow 25.3% to hold 64% of the market, followed by wrist bands (3.4% growth, 24.2% market share), clothing (76.6% growth, 9.4% market share) and earwear (43.1% growth, 1.8% market share).

In other news, AR/VR in Western Europe will reach $2.5b in revenue in 2017, up 131% on the $1.1b spent in 2016. Looking further forward, IDC says market revenue will rapidly grow to $25.7b by 2020. By 2021, IDC says 99.4m units will be shipped worldwide, up from 10.1m in 2016. Global shipments to the commercial market will reach 38.3m units (up from 2m in 2016) and consumer 61.1m units (up from 8.1m).

In April

User spending on basic and utility ultramobile devices will decline through 2019 as spending on mobiles phones and traditional PCs (including premium ultramobiles) increases, Gartner said. According to its report, spending on basic ultramobiles will fall from $40.4m to $34.4m in 2019 as shipments also drop from 169m units in 2016 to 157m in 2019. Shipments of premium ultramobiles will grow from 50m to 82m units.

Processors, MEMs, Semiconductors

In March

ComputerWorld says China has upped the stakes in its semiconductor manufacturing battle with America after state-backed Tsinghua Unigroup announced it secured another $22b in funding. This adds to the $30b invested earlier in the year to drive domestic manufacturing of NAND flash and DRAM chips.

Global semiconductor sales in February grew 16.5% YoY but were down 0.8% on January to sit at $30.4b for the month, the Semiconductor Industry Association reported. By region, YoY was all growth with China leading at +25%, followed by the Americas (19.1%), Japan (11.9%), Europe (5.9%) and Other (11.2%), while on the month all were down, with Europe experiencing the smallest at -0.6%.

In April

According to the Semiconductor Industry Association, global semiconductor sales in March reached $30.9b, up 18.1% YoY and 1.6% on the month, helping take Q1 sales to $92.6b, up 18.1% YoY but down -0.4% on the quarter. By region, Europe enjoyed growth at 11.1% YoY and 5% on the month.

Looking forward, Gartner has forecast global semiconductor revenue to grow 12.3% YoY for 2017 to $386bn.


In March

According to ComputerWorld, Intel will ship its next-gen Optane PC memory cards in April. Designed with Micron, the chip performs 10 times faster than SSDs and will allow PCs to boost twice as fast and increase internal storage performance by 14 times.

In other news, TrendForce says global revenue in the NAND flash market grew 17.8% on the quarter in Q4 after a severe supply shortage period. This shortage is also expected to boost SSD contract prices 10-16% on the quarter in Q1.

In April

According to TrendForce, April and May are traditionally a slow time for the DRAM market, but as Q2 contract negations wrap up, average contract prices are expected to grow another 10-15% on Q1 and continue to grow throughout the year.

3D-NAND is expected to surpass 50% of output and become the norm by Q3, TrendForce said. The report further said Samsung will continue its lead in the 3D market, with Micron in second place, while major player SK Hynix is looking to play catch-up with the launch of its 72-layer chip in H2 2017.

Increasing mobile DRAM prices will see smartphone memory growth lower than expected. TrendForce originally estimated average smartphone memory to grow from 2.6GB in 2016 to 3.7GB in 2017, but said that will now reach just 3.2GB.

Meanwhile, server DRAM sales prices are expected to grow 10% in Q2 on Q1 as demand continues to surpass supply, TrendForce reported.


In March

Factory revenue from global enterprise storage systems dropped 6.7% YoY to $11.1b in Q4, IDC reported, while capacity shipments grew 18.3% to 52.4 exabytes. Dell led revenue and market share with $2.12b and 32.9%, followed by HP ($656.5m and 10.2%) and IBM ($653.8 and 10.1%).

In another report IDC noted Western Europe’s external storage revenue fell 7.9% YoY to $1.38b in Q4, while capacity grew 4.5% to 2,789.4 petabytes. All-flash storage also now accounts for over 60.4% of the regional market.

Gartner says integrated systems will see spending on server and storage systems fall 25% by 2020 as simplification of operations, cost savings, and optimizing production time drive the adoption of integrated systems.

In April

Intel is set to start shipping its new server SSD in H2 2017. According to TrendForce, the new Optane SSD DC P4800X series will outperform NAND Flash and help Intel maintain its lead on the market that included over 30% of market share in 2016. While the price point is set to be four times that of current NAND Flash-based server SSDs, TrendForce tested the new Intel SSD and said it proved far superior than traditional storage in all aspects, including improving overall operations and providing faster and more consistent writing speeds.


In March

Flexible AMOLED display revenue will exceed rigid AMOLED displays by Q3 2017, IHS said, with revenue set to grow 150% YoY to $3.2b. Rigid AMOLED display revenues will drop 2% YoY to $3b.

4K panel shipments to China are expected to nearly double by 2020, IHS has predicted, rising to 44m units from 25m in 2016. Shipments to Western Europe are expected to rise to 19m units (up from 8m in 2016) and North American shipments will reach 25.9m units (up from 11.7m).

IHS also noted that while the push for 8K panels is well and truly on, manufacturers are facing issues with panel sizing versus close distance viewing. China is expected to be a market of early adopters, with 8K 65” screens to be the default. Japan will follow, beginning 8K broadcasts from 2020.

The value of the LCD panel industry grew 7% YoY to $4.5b in 2016, FutureSource reported, while TrendForce noted that worldwide 65”+ LCD panel shipments grew 4.6% in February YoY but were down 5.8% on January to 18.71m units.

Global LCD TV panel shipments are expected to drop 1.8% YoY to 255.6m units in 2017, however. TrendForce notes that 60”+ panels will grow to 5.2% of all shipments, up from 3.6% in 2016, and the average panel size shipped is set to grow 2” to 45.5”.

Looking forward, TrendForce says Samsung is already working on the next-generation of TVs, and will release self-emitting quantum dot TVs from 2020, while FutureSource says flexible screens such as smartphones unfolding to tablets, rollable screens and adjustable curved TVs will be next to market. The value of the flexible display market will soar to $200b within the next five years, it forecasts.

In April

According to TrendForce, 60.16m LCD TV panels were shipped in Q1 2017, up 0.4% YoY but down 10.7% on the quarter. Of those shipments 4K TV panels grew 0.5% to surpass 20m units and 33.3% of the market. Looking forward, TrendForce said there will be a big shift in Q2 demand from 40-43” panels to the 55-65” segment.

LG remained the top vendor for Q1, despite a 7% drop in shipments on the quarter to 12.6m units, followed by Innolux (-9.3% to 9.9m) and BOE (-2.8%, 9.4m units).

Q2 LCD panel shipments will bounce back from Q1’s 9% drop on the quarter to rise 7% to 646.69m units, IHS said. Driven by demand for new product models and May sales promotions in China, smartphone panels will dominate the market with 452.95m shipments, followed by TV panels (61.71m), tablet PC (55.02m), notebook (40.53m) and monitors (36.48m units).

Western Europe enjoyed significant growth in large format displays in Q1, Context reported, up 29% YoY. The 55”+ segment drove this more than any other, increasing 56% to reach 40% of all shipments. Context also noted the UK alone enjoyed a 53.1% YoY increase in revenue on the back of its 20.5% shipment growth.

Apple’s full adoption of IGZO displays for its 9.7” iPad Pro helped grow shipments of these LCD variants 292% to 19.8m units in 2016, TrendForce said. IGZO tablet panels will enjoy another year of growth, up 46% to 29m units, it added.


In March

Global large format printers enjoyed a 5.4% YoY growth in shipment values for Q4 and a 4.5% growth overall for 2016, IDC reported. HP led the market with $246.94m and 25% market share in Q4 and $975.11m and 25.1% annually, followed by Canon with $119.63m, 12.1% in Q4 and $467.21m and 12% for the year. Epson took third place with $75.01m (7.6% market share) in Q4 and $277.14m (7.1% share) for the year.

Medical 3D printing is set to go to the next level as developers look further into bioprinting with parts of the human liver by 2020. According to a report by ComputerWorld, donated healthy liver cells will be able to be replicated by 3D printer onto a coin size piece of tissue, giving those awaiting transplants an extra year or two of life expectancy.

Context said 3D resin printers enjoyed 8% shipment growth in 2016. This was the only positive in the declining professional/industrial market, where global shipments fell 10% YoY.

The global hardcopy peripheral market grew 0.6% YoY in Q4 to 26.6m units, IDC reported, with the top three vendors (HP, Canon and Epson) all enjoying shipment and market share growth. According to the report, the inkjet (0.6%) and laser (1.6%) markets were behind the growth.

In April

Western Europe printer sales grew 2% YoY in Q1 2017, Context reported. Sales of inkjet (6%) and laser (5%) multifunction printers helped drive this growth, while regionally the Spanish (+25.3% YoY) and Portuguese (20.6%) markets were high performers. The report also noted there is an obvious shift to multifunction printers as single-function laser printers dropped 7% and single function inkjets were down 21%. The UK registered a 0.6% growth in Q1 printer shipments.


Monthly Stats

In March

New products started at 1,763 and rose to 5,102 by Mar 6 before dropping to 133 on Mar 7. Minus a jump to 1,486 on Mar 13, new products stayed below 1,000 for the rest of the month, which also included a fall to 43 on Mar 14 and ending the month at 114.

Honeywell Bull topped Dell and Xerox for price increases by manufacturer while Cisco dominated price reductions.

Total price increases per day started at 21,306, jumped to a high of 37,706 on Mar 3-5, dipped to 19,601 on Mar 6 and rebounded to 37,261 on Mar 7, before diving to 1,667 on Mar 8. The rest of the month was similar in movement, including a drop to 1,142 on Mar 14, rising to 24,943 on Mar 15, and ending the month down at 12,970.

Price decreases per day started slowly, rising from 5,494 to 9,736 by Mar 6 before dropping to a low of 1,169 on Mar 8 and recovering to sit at 13,714 on Mar 13. Highlights for the rest of the month include peaking at 32,034 on 20 Mar, dropping to 8,555 on Mar 30 and ending the month up from where it started at 13,951.

Stock up started at 7,391, dropped to 4,784 and then sat to 7,469 on Mar 3-5. This trend continued throughout the month, with a jump to a high of 11,124 on Mar 10-12 being followed by a drop to 1,692 on Mar 14. Stock up ended the month down at 4,323. Stock down was the opposite, jumping from 9,647 to 14,214 on Mar 2, sitting steady at 12,477 from Mar 3-5 before another rise and fall. A jump to 21,032 came on Mar 29, before ending the month at 17,721.

New Products March 2017

Prices and Stock Movements March 2017

In April

New products started at 109, dropped to 37 by Apr 5, jumped to 186 on Apr 6, and then steadily rose and fell until bottoming out at 9 by Apr 18. A jump to 1,906 on Apr 21 and holding steady at 1,901 on Apr 22-23, new products fell again to end the month at 438.

Honeywell Bull led APC and Xerox for price increases by manufacturer while Cisco dominated price reductions.

Total price increases per day started at 12,970 and fell to 5,214 by Apr 3, recovered to 19,049 on Apr 5 and fell to 1,805 where it sat from Apr 7-9. A quick jump to 41,397 on Apr 11 was following by another series of falls, including to 773 on Apr 17. A slight recovery period followed, where price increases sat above 10,000 from Apr 21-27, before falling to 883 on Apr 28-30.

Price decreases per day started stronger, rising from 13,951 to 24,196 on Apr 3 and holding strong until dropping from 18,619 on Apr 5 to 6,275 on Apr 7-9. Highlights for the rest of the month include sitting at 27,769 on Apr 14-16, dropping to 2,835 on Apr 18, hitting a high of 45,712 on Apr 20 and ending the month down at 1,407.

Stock up started at 4,323, rose to a high of 9,680 on Apr 3, dropped to 3,412 for Apr 7-9, recovered, fell and continued this trend until falling to end the month at 1,031.

Stock down started at its highest at 17,721 and fluctuated between 11,300 and 17,200 until dropping to 9,383 on Apr 13. A quick rise to 16,263 on Apr 14-16 was followed by a fall to 3,086 on Apr 18. Stock down then sat steady above 12,000 until dropping to 6,641 on Apr 28-30.

New Products April 2017

Prices and Stock Movements April 2017