IT Supply Chain Developments and Their Impact on Buying Decisions

Ian Nethercott, MCIPS, Supply Chain Director at IT digital marketplace Probrand,  continues his monthly roundup of the latest from the IT market.

It was one of those summers people will talk about for years to come. Record-breaking sunshine and, of course, the moment we all thought ‘it was coming home.’ As quickly as it arrived, it was over, and suddenly we find ourselves heading towards Autumn and the mid-point of Q3.

The sun may have disappeared but it’s not all bad news – and this point in the calendar is an excellent time for buyers to reflect on the ups and downs of the first half of the year.

We all recognise that the IT supply chain is hugely volatile. However, looking back to assess key trends or patterns can act as an opportunity for IT category buyers looking to exploit key market influencers and secure the best product at the right price.

Exchange Rate

The euro made a positive start against the GBP in August, but sadly this was short-lived. Starting at 0.8899, it held steady until August 5th where it jumped to 0.8999 four days later. The euro then fell before gradually climbing from 0.8931 on August 11th to a high of 0.9075 on the 28th, before falling back down to 0.8961 at the end of the month.

It was a similar story against the US dollar. The euro started poorly, dropping from 1.1676 on August 1st to 1.1555 by August 6th. It experienced a quick rise to 1.1605 on August 8th before falling hard, hitting a low of 1.1332 by the 15th. The euro then rose strongly, reaching a high of 1.1694 on August 28th, only to end the month back down at 1.1640.

According to the Financial Times, inflation in the eurozone slowed to 2% in August, down from 2.1% in July but still above the ECB’s target of just under 2% thanks to rising oil prices.

Phones and Tablets

According to Gartner, global smartphone sales grew 2% YoY in Q2 to 374.33m. Despite dropping 12.7% in sales, Samsung held top spot with 72.33m units and 19.3% market share, followed by Huawei in second with +38.6% YoY growth to 49.84m units and 13.3% of the market. Apple (44.71m and 11.9% market), Xiaomi (32.82m and 8.8%) and Oppo (28.51m and 7.6%) rounded out the top five vendors.

Android maintained its dominance with 329.5m units and 88% of the market in Q2, with Apple’s iOS in second at 11.9% of the market and 44.71m units.

In other news, IDC reported that Chinese smartphone shipments fell 6% YoY but value grew 15% YoY in Q2, while Apple is said to be making a budget iPhone to enable it to compete more effectively with Android.

Competition amongst tech companies can be good news for buyers who benefit from the added choice of new products with additional features and functionality. Rather than reach for the latest model, however, this can be an opportunity to purchase tech that landed six months earlier for a now-reduced price, as manufacturers clear stock to make way for the new.

Traditional PCs

Global personal computer devices including PCs, tablets and workstations are set to fall 3.9% YoY in 2018 and will continue to fall 1.5% to 383.6m units by 2022. This could be prompted by the demand for compact devices that give working professionals the ability to incorporate CRM systems and other add-ons, rather than relying on several clunky devices.

IDC predicted that detachable tablets and notebooks are set to grow 8.7% to 31.4m and 0.4% to 165m units, respectively.

According to TrendForce, global notebook shipments are up 10.2% QoQ in Q2 quarter and 2.1% YoY to 41.08m units. HP topped the vendor list with 26.2% of the market, followed by Lenovo (20%), Dell (19.6%), Acer (8%) and Asus (7.4%). Looking ahead, TrendForce expects notebooks to enjoy 5-6% growth in Q3.

Monthly statistics

The past few months have seen relatively few new products coming onto the market. The largest volume occurred on August 27th, with 3,702 products launched on a single day.

We saw fewer price increases occur in August compared to July, although they did happen.  The highest number of increases happened on August 9th, with 26,266 price hikes occurring across a variety of product categories, compared to 32,134 on July 11. Price decreases in August also jumped around, hitting a high of 26,266 between August 17th – 19th.

First Voice

  1. rob lees:

    Any views on IT itself? Servers, networking, services, outsourcing, consulting….
    The end-user devices you cover are only the tip of the IT iceberg.

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