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

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.

September, like most months in the IT channel, was mixed. Smartphone and tablet shipments were down, PC shipments were expected to decline in the years to come and the euro fell against both currencies (not a surprise). On the plus side, gaming PCs are set for long-term growth and large-screen shipments enjoyed a buoyant period.

As we leave September behind, will it be trick or treat for IT buyers in October? 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 wasn’t great news for the euro against GBP in September. Starting at 0.9030, it was all downhill after an initial high of 0.9089 on September 3rd. The euro eventually hit a low of 0.8818 by the 20th. After holding steady and rising slightly to 0.8899 on September 28th-29th, the euro ended the month down at 0.8876.

It was a similar result against the USD. Starting at 1.0986, the euro dropped to 0.10952 on September 3rd before steadily rising to a high of 1.1077 by September 13th only to fall, finishing the month back down at 1.0916.

According to MarketWatch, the Eurozone’s inflation dropped to 0.9% in September, while PMI dropped to 45.6 – its lowest in almost seven years.

Phones & tablets

IDC said that global smartphone shipments will undergo a minor wobble and fall 2.2% YoY in 2019 – but recover to grow 1.1% YoY to 1.48bn by 2023. Android will enjoy an 87% market share in 2019, growing to 87.4% or 1.29bn units by 2023, while Apple’s share is expected to drop 2.2% to 186.6m units.

In tablet news, IDC reported that shipments to Western Europe were down 6.6% YoY in Q2.

Traditional PCs

According to Gartner, global personal computing shipments – including PCs, ultramobiles and mobile phones – will drop 3.7% YoY in 2019 from 2.22bn units to 2.13bn, before rebounding slightly to 2.15bn in 2020. Traditional PCs will drop steadily from 195.3m units in 2018 to 169.2m in 2021.

Global PC gaming shipments including desktops, notebooks and monitors, grew 16.5% YoY to 10.4m units in Q2, IDC said. Looking ahead, the report forecasts 9.6% YoY growth across the gaming market after 2019. Furthermore, it predicts 6.5% YoY market growth to reach 55.2m units by 2023, with notebooks claiming 45.3% of the market ahead of desktops (36.4%) and monitors (18.3%).

Premium Ultramobiles & Wearables

Global shipments of wrist-worn wearables grew 28.8% YoY in Q2 to 34.2m units, according to IDC. Xiaomi overtook Apple for top honours with 42.2% YoY growth to 5.9m units and 17.3% of the market, while Apple, in second place, grew 7% YoY to 5.1m units and 14.8% of the market. Huawei, Fitbit and Samsung rounded out the top five vendors.

In another report, IDC said global wearable shipments grew 85.2% in Q2 to 67.7m units, with hearables the fastest-growing segment, claiming 46.9% of the market in Q2 (up from 24.8% in Q2 2018). By vendor, Apple topped the market for hearables with 15.9m units shipped in Q2, up 218.2% YoY, ahead of Samsung in second with 3.3m units. Xiaomi, Bose, and GN Group rounded out the top five.

Meanwhile, TrendForce has forecast global smartwatch shipments to grow 28.6% YoY from 62.63m in 2019 to 80.55m units in 2020. Apple is set to own the market with 34m units and 21.8% market share.

Monthly statistics

The number of new products that came onto the market was extremely low, with a high of 387 new products launching on September 3rd compared to a high of 138 new products the previous month.

The highest number of total price increases happened on September 30th with 54,187 price hikes (up from last month) occurring across a variety of product categories. At the opposite end of the scale, there were 35,197 price decreases on September 16th.


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