IT Supply Chain Developments and Their Impact on Buying Decisions – August

Ian Nethercot, MCIPS, Supply Chain Director at IT digital marketplace Probrand, continues his monthly roundup of the latest movements in the IT market to help with your buying decisions.

The IT channel had a bumpy summer with Q2 reports showing slipping global smartphone, tablet and printer shipments, along with falling semiconductor revenue. Meanwhile, PC sales, notebooks and wearable shipments enjoyed some YoY growth.

To help navigate the ups and downs and maintain a clear view of what represents a fair price, here are some of the latest developments and major movements that are influencing key IT product categories.

Exchange Rate

The big news from last month’s column was the pound falling 0.5% against the US dollar and the euro – the lowest it had been for 28 months. As usual, the team at Probrand dug beyond the headline stats to explore the intricate ups and downs as the month progressed.

Starting strongly against the GBP, the euro rose from 0.9118 on the first of the month to a monthly high of 0.9308 by August 10th. It then fell, hitting 0.9124 by August 17-18 and, after a slight recovery, fell again to 0.9053 by Aug 25. It attempted a rebound but eventually slid to finish the month at 0.9029.

The euro experienced a similar month against the USD. Starting at 1.1056 on August 1st it rose to 1.1207 by August 7th and stayed high for five days before falling from 1.1205 to 1.1091 by August 16th. It stayed there until the 25th, when it jumped quickly to 1.1138, but ended the month down at 1.0985.

Lastly, ING dropped its eurozone GDP forecast for 2020 from 1.1% to 0.7%.

Phones & tablets

According to Gartner, global smartphone sales fell 1.7% YoY in Q2 to 367.9m units. Samsung topped the vendor list with 75.11m units and 20.4% of the market share, ahead of Huawei (58.05m and 15.8%), Apple (38.52m and 10.5%), Xiaomi (33.19m and 9%) and OPPO (28.11m and 7.6%). All but Apple and OPPO reported YoY growth.

The same report announced that global smartphone shipments are expected to fall 2.5% YoY in 2019 to 1.51bn units but will recover and grow to 1.56bn units in 2020. The rise of 5G is set to be a huge trigger with 15m smartphones using that technology to ship by the end of this year.

According to IDC, global smartphone assembly shipment volumes grew 11.9% QoQ to 332.6m units in Q2. Samsung remained the top vendor, ahead of Foxconn, vivo, OPPO and Haqin. It was a different story with TrendForce who suggested that Q2 smartphone production volumes dropped 2.4% despite demand growing 10.5% QoQ to 344m units.

Traditional PCs

According to Context, global PC sales grew 1.5% to 4.9m units in Q2, with Eurozone sales even stronger at +4% YoY. Business demand saw desktop sales up 10.4% and notebooks up 3.1%, while consumer sales dropped 3.9% YoY – desktops declined 10.5% and notebooks 6.1%

Global notebook shipments in Q2 were up 12.1% QoQ to 41.5m units and are expected to rise 3.6% QoQ in Q3 to 43m units according to TrendForce. HP topped the market with 10.25m units, up 11% QoQ but down 4.8% YoY, ahead of Lenovo, Dell, Acer, and Apple.


Global enterprise external OEM storage systems revenue declined 0.8% YoY in Q2 to $6.32bn, IDC reported. Dell topped the list with -1.8% YoY to $1.89bn and 29.9% market share, ahead of HPE (+13.5% to $0.74bn and 11.7%), NetApp (-17.8% to $0.68bn and 10.8%), IBM (-22.7% to $0.44bn and 7.1%) and Hitachi (+8.6% to $0.43bn and 6.9%).

Monthly statistics

The number of new products that came onto the market was extremely low, with a high of 138 new products launching on August 29th.

The highest number of total price increases happened on August 5th with 46,950 price hikes occurring across a variety of product categories. At the opposite end of the scale, there were 17,276 price decreases on August 1st.



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