IT Supply Chain Developments and Their Impact on Buying Decisions

Al Nagar, Head of Benchmarking, KnowledgeBus, Mercato Solutions, continues his series of monthly advisory pieces sharing recent movements and impactors within key IT product categories, to keep you up to date with the latest developments and help support your purchasing decisions.


The start of a new school term brings the inevitable flurry of purchases, from school books and stationery to blazers and bags. For IT buyers, it also marks the start of a product refresh. Whether it’s a single USB or hundreds of desktops, IT and procurement teams must be conscious of price in order to protect their budgets.

Buyers certainly appeared to be in a more positive mood in August. With the euro showing some signs of pick-up, there was promising growth across several areas.

Exchange Rate

Against the pound, the euro started the month at 0.8451 before an immediate fall to 0.8397 by August 3. From there, the euro recovered and rose to reach 0.8677 by August 16. After enjoying a period of stability, the euro slipped again, pausing briefly at 0.8539 on August 24 before ending the month slightly up on where it started at 0.8501.

Against the US dollar, the euro also enjoyed a strong rise mid-month in what otherwise started and ended poorly. Beginning at 1.1169 and dropping to 1.1083 on August 6, the euro then rose, peaking at 1.1329 on August 19 where it stayed until August 23. From there it was all downhill, falling to 1.1147 at the end of the month.

The French economy was the focal point in the Eurozone throughout August. A sluggish performance and labour protests earlier in the year was met with strong growth in the private sector during August. This in turn helped to stablise the eurozone’s economy. Inflation in the region remained flat at 0.2%.

Phones and Tablets

Consumer appetite for smartphones grew in August. According to Gartner, sales to end users advanced 4.3% YoY to 344m units in Q2. Growth at Samsung meant they held on to the top spot with a 22.3% market share. Meanwhile, Apple experienced a wobble, falling down 4m units for the third consecutive quarter to 44.4m units.

In operating system news, Android expanded another 4% in Q2 to enjoy an 86.2% market share. Apple in second place dropped 1.7% YoY to 12.9% market share.

In tablet news, IDC reported global tablet shipments fell 12% YoY to just 38.7m units.


Global revenue for the 3D printing market is expected to reach $35.4b by 2020, more than double the $15.9b it’s set to deliver in 2016. According to a report from IDC, automotive designs and aerospace and defence parts are amongst the largest revenue streams, while dental printing is emerging as a strong opportunity.

Global production printer shipments (+10%) and large format printer shipments (+3.9%) enjoyed YoY growth in Q2. Meanwhile, in Western Europe, the printer and multifunction market fell 5.8% in Q2 YoY to 4.5m units shipped. According to IDC, multifunction printers accounted for 81.4% of all printers shipped in Western Europe in Q2, up 0.4% on the 2016 average.

Traditional PCs

According to TrendForce, global notebook shipments during Q2 fell by 4% YoY to 74.18m units. Meanwhile, Lenovo led the half-year shipments with 16.15m units, a 21.8% market share and 4.1% YoY growth. HP’s strong Q2 (17.9% growth on Q1) kept it in second place for half-year shipments with 15.8m units, 21.3% market share and a 1.6% YoY growth. Dell came in third, enjoying the strongest half-year YoY growth with 11.1%.

Despite a 30.3% recovery on its MacBooks in Q2, Apple struggled to bounce back from weak Q1 results. Global shipments were down 23.4% YoY in Q2, resulting in a 7.9% market share.


Stat of the month: The largest amount of new products occurred on August 3, with 88 products coming to market in a single day.

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