IT Supply Chain Developments and Their Impact on Buying Decisions – Part 5

Pleased welcome the next post from Al Nagar, Head of Benchmarking, KnowledgeBus, which marks the fifth in a series of advisory posts sharing recent movements and impactors within key IT product categories to keep you abreast of the latest developments to support purchasing decisions.

With Christmas just around the corner, consumers are already beginning to draw up their wish lists, with smartphones and wearable technology top of the list for many. The growing BYOD trend, which is seeing employees increasingly blur the lines between picking up devices intended for home at work, and vice versa, will drive a fresh wave of IT requirements for business in the New Year.

Analysing often volatile tech market trends and predicting how they impact business demands against stock and price can support strategic purchasing in what is a complicated supply chain.

Exchange rates

The beginning of October saw the Euro dip against the US dollar from 1.2651 to 1.2512. It then reached a high of 1.2799 in the middle of the month before plummeting to 1.2609 on the 30th October.

Towards the end of October, the Bank of Japan surprised markets by announcing an expansion of its monetary stimulus policy to 80 trillion yen. This move caused the US dollar to rise 1.2% to 110.68 yen - the highest rate since January 2008. Shortly after this announcement, the US government ended its own quantitative easing initiative. Expect Japanese manufactured components and end product prices to move accordingly.

Finally, the week ending 17th October saw turbulence in the financial markets which contributed to a poor performance of the Euro versus the pound, with the Euro finishing at 0.7882 on 31st October.

Phones and Tablets

Sales of basic smartphones are expected to rise by 52% this year with models in lower price brackets most popular – highlighting that basic functionality still trumps more sophisticated models. To date, smartphones have largely been consumer driven, with shoppers buying devices for personal consumption before integrating them into the workplace. As we enter 2015, this may shift as staff look to work remotely across multiple devices at any one time.

Samsung controlled 78% of all smartphone market volumes in October, while Apple held on to 39.3%. Global giants such as Xiaomi, Lenovo and LG Electronics were close behind.

Tablet devices continued to be outsold last month with slow refresh rates largely to blame as businesses look to get more mileage from one device and extend their tablet life to three years. Sales will continue to grow - Gartner announced that 229 million will be sold this year, up from 11% compared to last – but at a slower pace than other devices.


While 3D printers have traditionally been something of a ‘showpiece,’ their viability within the workplace is becoming more of a reality. According to Gartner, worldwide shipments are estimated to double year on year in 2015, reaching 217,350 units. This is driving real innovation across sectors that include medicine, aerospace, education and manufacturing with sales of 2.3 million units expected by 2018.

Traditional PCs

The slow but steady rise of tablet devices has caused a dip for traditional PCs with unit sales falling 0.5% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2014, hitting 79.4 million. This was largely due to falling shipments in emerging markets.

The EMEA region told a different story with mature markets enjoying healthy sales. October saw 24 million PC units shipped, marking the region’s third positive quarter in a row.

Different regions will understandably have different needs and it’s important to take this into consideration if you are a business with a global presence. The price you may pay for one piece of equipment may differ dramatically from region to region with shipping costs, exchange rates and even the time of day at which you make the purchase all major considerations.


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