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.

July was a positive month for several areas of business IT – personal computers recorded their first YoY growth in six years, VR continued to expand, and DRAM sales revenues were through the roof. For the first time in a while, the euro also flourished, enjoying growth against both GBP and USD currencies.

We all recognise that the IT supply chain is hugely volatile, but these ups and downs can also 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 had a slow start against the pound in July but soon picked up. Starting at 0.8841 it underwent some minor movement and dipped to 0.8825 before a sudden rise to 0.8938 by July 20. Dropping slowly to 0.8884 by July 26, the euro began to climb again, reaching 0.8916 by the end of the month.

The euro was less steady against the US dollar. It started at 1.1680 and dropped immediately to 1.1634 before hitting a monthly high of 1.1759 on July 10. It then dropped hard, recovered briefly, and then bottomed out at 1.1628 on July 19. That said, the euro finished the month better than it started, after a brief rise, at 1.1709.

Phones and Tablets

According to IDC, global smartphone shipments fell 1.8% YoY in Q2 to 342m units. Despite dropping 10.4% YoY, Samsung topped the vendor list with 71.5m units and 20.9% market share. Huawei overtook Apple to claim second with an impressive 40.9% YoY growth in shipments to 54.2m units and 15.8% of the market. Apple (+0.7% YoY to 41.3m units & 12.1%), Xiaomi (+48.8% to 31.9m units & 9.3%) and OPPO (+5.1% to 29.4m & 8.6%) rounded out the top five vendors.

In tablet news, Microsoft launched a competitor to Apple’s iPad in the form of a low-cost 10’’ Surface Go. We’re still seeing manufacturers follow the trend of slimmer, more lightweight models, with the next iPad Pro expected to follow the iPhone and remove the headphone jack to make the devices thinner.

Traditional PCs

Personal computing devices have gone from strength to strength with Gartner announcing that PCs, tablets and mobile phones are set to grow 0.9% globally to 2.28bn units for 2018. Breaking down the numbers, traditional PCs are set to drop from 204m in 2017 to 195m in 2018, and continue to fall to 181m by 2020, while premium ultramobiles will rise from 58m units in 2017 to 65m in 2018 and 80m units by 2020.

Processors, MEMs, Semiconductors

Intel and SiTime Corp announced they’ll team to up produce new MEMs timing solutions for Intel’s 5G Modems. Meanwhile, Qualcomm Inc. failed to purchase NXP Semiconductors after Chinese regulators refused to approve the deal. Meanwhile, the South Korean government announced plans to invest $1.34bn into its country’s development of next-gen semiconductor technology.

Monthly statistics

Last month saw very few new products coming onto the market. The largest volume occurred on July 5, with 3,906 products launched on a single day.

As usual, we also saw several price increases occur. The highest number of increases happened on July 11, with 32,134 price hikes occurring across a variety of product categories. Price decreases also jumped around, hitting a high of 27,256 on July 5.


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