March 2018

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


Executive Summary

  • Smartphones post first YoY shipment decline
  • Western Europe PC sales are up
  • DRAM price intervention expected


The largest number of price increases happened on Feb 2nd to the 4th, with 37,947.

Jump to Monthly Stats

It was more negative than positive across the IT channel this month as 2017 end-of-year reports began to surface. Smartphone shipments posted a Q4 decline while annual results showed some growth, tablets continued to decline, PC shipments were up but expected to fall, semiconductor revenue broke records, LCD TV shipments fell to a three-year low while inkjets helped buoy the printer market, and the euro had mixed results against the GBP and USD.


Exchange Rate

The euro started strongly and despite some dips, ended the month up against the GBP. Rising sharply from 0.8572 on Feb 1 to 0.8873 by Feb 6, after a quick dip to 0.8805 on Feb 8, the euro rose, reaching a high of 0.8897 by Feb 14. A fall to 0.8798 by Feb 24 followed, before recovering and ending the month back up at 0.8824.

British Pound (GBP) per 1 Euro (EUR)

It was quite the opposite against the USD. Starting at 1.2452 and rising to 1.2477 on Feb, the euro fell hard, dropping to 1.2248 by Feb 11. An immediate jump to 1.2480 on Feb 15 was quickly dashed, falling to 1.2291 by Feb 25 and finally 1.2214 on Feb 28.

US Dollar (USD) per 1 Euro (EUR)

Euro (EUR) per 1 British Pound (GBP)

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

According to the National Post, the eurozone took a backward step in February with PMI dropping from January’s 12-year high of 58.8 to 57.1 on the back of political uncertainty in Germany and Italy. CTV News reported inflation also fell in February for the third month in a row, dropping from 1.3% to 1.2% on the month, and further below the European Central Bank’s goal of 2%.

Price Changes and News Through February, 2018


Phones and Tablets

According to Gartner, YoY global smartphone sales declined for the first time ever in Q4 2017, down 5.6% YoY to 407.84m units. Samsung led the market with 74.02m units and 18.2% market share, above Apple (73.17m & 17.9%) and Huawei (43.88m & 10.8%).

Annually, global smartphone sales rose almost 3% YoY to 1.526bn, with Samsung, Apple and Huawei again topping the list with 321.26m, 214.92m and 150.53m units respectively. Android continued its dominance with 85.9% market share.

IDC on the other hand said global smartphone shipments for 2017 dropped 0.5% YoY to 1.46bn devices. Looking ahead, the market will achieve single-digit CAGR at 2.2% through 2022, when it will reach 1.68bn units shipped, IDC said.

In other news, IHS said devices capable of wireless charging, including mobile phones, small appliances and wearables, grew 40% in 2017 to nearly 500m devices.

Tablet shipments to Western Europe fell 13.1% YoY in Q4 to 10.6m units, IDC reported. Apple (2.56m units) led the market above Samsung (2.2m), Amazon (1.19m), Lenovo (0.9m) and Huawei (0.45m), with all but Huawei posting negative YoY growth.

In another report IDC noted the global detachable tablet market grew 10.3% to 6.5m units in Q4 but only achieved 1.6% YoY growth for the year, far from 2016’s +24% YoY.

Incorporating both slate and detachable tablets, IDC said the market fell 7.9% YoY in Q4 to 49.5m units and 6.5% YoY annually to 163.5m units. Apple took top spot across the board with over 26% of market share in both Q4 (+0.6% to 13.2m units) and annually (+3% to 43.8m units), out-shipping Samsung, Amazon, Huawei and Lenovo.

Traditional PCs

Q4 revenue from commercial PC sales in Western Europe grew 6% YoY despite unit volume dropping 6% YoY, Context reported. The UK (13.2%) reported the second highest growth across the region, second only to Poland (13.9%), while Sweden (-4.8%) and Italy (-2.2%) registered the only negative growth.

IDC has forecast shipments of PCs and tablets to Western Europe will fall 3.3% in 2018 to 76.3m and another 3% in 2019 to 74m units. According to the report, between 2017-2022, detachable tablets (11.7%), convertible notebooks (+11.1%) and ultraslim notebooks (+7.4%) will be the biggest growth drivers, while traditional notebooks (-15.1%) and desktops (-5.7%) will experience the biggest losses.

Premium Ultramobiles/Wearables

The global wearable market continues to surge with both Q4 and 2017 annual shipments reaching new heights. According to IDC, global wearable shipments grew 7.8% YoY in Q4 to 37.9m units, and 10.3% YoY for 2017 to 115.4m units.

Apple was the top vendor in the wearables category both in Q4 and for the year, enjoying +57.5% YoY growth to 8m units and 21% market share in Q4 and +55.9% YoY growth to 17.7m units and 15.3% market share for the year. Fitbit claimed second in Q4 and third for the year while Xiaomi claimed third spot in Q4 and second for the year.

Processors, MEMs, Semiconductors

Global semiconductor sales totaled $412.2bn in 2017, the SIA reported, up 1.6% YoY and the highest ever on record. December sales grew 0.8% on the month and 22.5% YoY to $38bn, and Q4’s $114bn was up 5.7% on the quarter and 22.5% YoY. Regionally, the Americas led annual growth with 35%, ahead of China (22.2%) and Europe (17.1%), while in December the Americas posted 41.4% YoY growth and 21% on the month, and Europe posted 20.2% YoY growth but fell 1.6% on the month.


According to TrendForce, an intervention to moderate mobile DRAM prices will come into effect in Q1, following China’s NDRC expressing concerns to Samsung over the continuing increase of DRAM prices which have led to added cost pressures for its smartphone makers.


Global enterprise storage revenue for Q4 grew 13.7% YoY to $13.55bn and capacity shipments up 39.3% YoY to 89.2 exabytes, IDC reported. HP topped the vendor list with +2.9% YoY growth to $2.56bn and 18.9% market share, ahead of Dell (-11.4% YoY to $2.43bn & 18%), IBM (+8.6% to $744.6m & 5.5%), NetApp (+14.5% to $753.3m & 5.4%), Huawei (+28.9% to $517.7m & 3.8%) and Hitachi (-2.1% to $453.1m & 3.3%).


Global demand for flexible AMOLED displays saw the market expand over 250% in 2017 to $12bn in shipment revenue, IHS reported. The flexible displays also grew to 54.6% of the AMOLED market, with rigid displays shrinking 14% over the same period.

According to TrendForce, global LCD TV shipments fell to their lowest point since 2014 in 2017 on the back of its 4.1% YoY decline to 211m units. Looking ahead, 4K+ resolution displays are expected to grow from 37.1% of the market in 2017 to 42.8% in 2018, with 4K+ to be over 95% of all 55in+ displays shipped. 8K is expected to achieve just 0.3% of the market in 2018, but grow to 1.5% by 2020 on the back of the Tokyo Olympics being broadcast in 8K.

Desktop monitor sales to Western Europe grew 9% YoY in 2017 thanks to strong consumer-targeted monitors and high-end gaming monitors. Context said the UK alone enjoyed 14.3% growth in monitor sales.


Western Europe business inkjet printer sales fell 4% YoY in Q4 and for the year. Context’s report also stated that HP claimed 56% of the market in Q4, followed by Epson (31%). All vendors but Canon (+14% YoY), posted negative quarterly sales declines. By country, Sweden posted a 91.6% growth, followed by positive results in France (15.3%), Spain (5.8%), Italy (35%) and the UK (1.9%) on the back of increased A3 printer sales. Belgium (-22.3%), Netherlands (-19.2%) and Germany (-12.2%) were hit the hardest.

The global printer market grew 1.2% YoY to 28.1m units in Q4 but fell 1% YoY in value to $13.7bn, IDC reported. Inkjet shipments buoyed the market with a 3.3% YoY growth, and despite dropping 3.8% YoY, HP took the top spot over Canon, Epson, Brother and Xerox with 10.25m units and 36.5% of the market.

HP also led the market for annual shipments, posting 0% YoY change to 39.22m units and 39.2% market share, followed by Canon (+1.3% to 20.85m & 20.9%), Epson (+4.6% to 18.26m & 18.3%), Brother (+3.6% to 7.52m & 7.5%) and Xerox (-6.7% to 2.3m & 2.3%).


Monthly Stats

New products started at 22, dropped to 10 on Feb 2-4, jumped to 276 on Feb 5, fell again, jumped to a high of 3,270 on Feb 16-18 and after falling to a low of 5 on Feb 23-25, ended the month up at 114.

Cisco, APC and Tripp Lite led price increases while Zebra Technologies, Brocade and Xerox led price reductions by manufacturer.

Price increases per day started at 11,896 and steadily rose to 31,704 by Feb 8. After a quick fall, prices jumped to a high of 32,691 on Feb 13 and fell to a low of 731 on Feb 15 before recovering, holding steady and jumping to end the month up at 32,003.

Total price decreases per day started at 32,118, jumped to a high of 37,947 on Feb 2-4 and then fell, eventually hitting a low of 412 on Feb 15. Another rise and fall followed, before dropping from 36,102 on Feb 27 to 9,531 on Feb 28.

Stock up highlights include jumping from 2,805 on Feb 1 to 5,666 on Feb 2-4, dropping to a low of 1,844 on Feb 15, hitting a high of 8,988 on Feb 21, and ending the month up at 4,910.

Stock down started steady, holding around 15,000 from Feb 1 until dropping from 15,322 on Feb 9-11 to a monthly low of 9,293 by Feb 15. A quick jump to 18,035 followed, before falling, recovering, and ending the monthly down slightly at 14,973.

New Products February 2018

Prices and Stock Movements February 2018