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

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.

In my final column of 2019, we saw November’s fortunes varied across the IT channel, with smartphones shipments up but sales down, PC shipments up, wearable sales soaring, semiconductor revenue growing but still down YoY, memory revenue returning to growth, and mixed results in the display market. Big news of course is the impact of Intel chip shortages on supply and price rises – I explore more in my video.

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

It was all downhill for the euro against the GBP in November. Starting at 0.8616 and rising slightly to a high of 0.8635 on November 4th, the euro then fell, hitting 0.8603 by November 6th, 0.8546 by the 18th and, after a slight recovery, falling to a low of 0.8511 on the 30th.

It was the same against the USD, with the euro starting at 1.1159 and growing to 1.1164 on the second day of the month before falling hard, hitting 1.1015 by November 9th, and 1.1007 by the 14th. A quick rise to 1.1075 on November 19th was dashed as the euro fell once again to end the month down at 1.1016.

According to the Financial Times, the Eurozone economy grew 1% YoY in November, 0.1% higher than expected. Low unemployment also helped, with October dropping to an 11-year low at 7.5%. That said, the New York Times reported the new ECB president Christine Lagarde as saying economic growth was a big concern with the eurozone economy only growing 0.2% overall in Q3.

Phones and Tablets

Gartner said that global smartphone sales to consumers fell 0.4% YoY in Q3 to 387.4m units. Samsung topped the list with 79.05m units and 20.4% of the market, ahead of Huawei, Apple, Xiaomi, and OPPO.

Global smartphone shipments on the other hand rose 0.8% YoY and 8.1% QoQ in Q3 to 358.3m units, IDC said. Samsung topped the market with +8.3% YoY to 78.2m units shipped and 21.8% market share, ahead of Huawei (+28.2% to 66.6m), Apple (-0.6% to 46.6m), Xiaomi (-3.3% to 32.7m) and OPPO (+4.1% to 31.2m).

In tablet news, IDC predicated that slate tablet shipments will decline 11% over the next five years, from 107m units in 2019 to 67.3m units by 2023, while Wccftech reported that global tablet sales dropped 4% YoY to 38.2m units in Q3. Digitimes said Q3 global tablet shipments reached 44.32m, with the market expected to rise 4.5% YoY in Q4.

Traditional PCs

According to IDC, global personal computing device shipments will grow 0.5% YoY to 407.7m units for 2019. Looking further ahead, the company said the PC market will decline 2.6% YoY through 2023, where only 2-in-1 (+9.4%) and Ultraslim (+5.3%) devices will enjoy growth while desktop (-5%), notebook (-9.5%) and slate tablet (-11%) devices will all decline.

Premium Ultramobiles & Wearables

Global wearable sales will reach $41bn in 2019 and grow 27% YoY in 2020, FutureFive said, with the biggest contributors coming from smartwatches, up 34% YoY to $22.8bn and smart clothing, up 52% YoY to $1.74bn.

Meanwhile, Google bought Fitbit for $2.1bn this month to stake a significant claim in the wearable market.

Monthly statistics

The number of new products that came onto the market was almost double that of October, with a high of 1,835 new products launching on November 6th compared to a high of 971 the month before.

The highest number of total price increases happened on November 25th, with 45,898 price hikes occurring across a variety of product categories. At the opposite end of the scale, there were 46,009 price decreases on November 4th.


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