• Technology Products Alert - February 2016

Welcome to this monthly Technology Products Alert. This monthly alert will keep you up to date with market trends and IT channel news giving you the knowledge you need to save time and money buying IT.


Executive Summary



The largest number of price increases happened on January 18, with 27,696 rises in a single day.

Jump to Monthly Stats
  • GBP continues to slide against the euro
  • TV panel shipments achieve positive growth
  • VR technology to provide glimmer of hope for PCs

Q4 2015 and yearly shipment reports appeared in the headlines throughout January. The quarter and the year had a numerous number of ups as downs. Shipments of smartphones, TV panels and 3D printers increased, but tablets, PCs and semiconductors dipped.

January was also littered with predictions for 2016. In a forecast summary by Gartner, the report predicts worldwide IT spending for 2016 will reach $3.54tn, just 0.6% up on spending for 2015. Data centre systems were prominent as an area of growth, set to savor a spending increase of 3% to $75bn, while the device market (phones, tablets, printers, PCs and ultramobiles) will dip 1.9%.

Based on Gartner, the US dollar was the villain for 2015, which led to a $216b spending decrease in comparison to 2014. We won't see 2014 spending levels until at the least 2019.


Exchange Rate


Exchange rates began on a flat line before the markets kicked off on 4th January. The euro was up against the pound in January, until the last week of the month where a sharp fall shaved off a number of the gains. After having a slight drop from the start at 0.7374 to 0.7338 on 6th January, the euro continued to increase, first to 0.7521 on 9th January and after five days of relative stability, to 0.7652 on 16th January and again on 30th January where it peaked at 0.7711. A dip to 0.7566 on 23rd January was followed by a slower rise to 0.7631 on 28th January. It stumbled in at 0.7601.

British Pound (GBP) per 1 Euro (EUR)

Exchange Rate Graph EUR vs GBP for January 2016

The euro dramatically fell and rose in contrast to the dollar, concluding the month slightly below where started. Sitting at 1.0869 until 4th January, the euro dived to 1.0750 by 6th January before rising dramatically to 1.0921 on 9th January. It dropped slightly to 1.0837 on 13th January and increased again to 1.0910 on 16th January. Another slight drop was followed quickly with a high of 1.0922 on 20th January. It redeemed itself well after a remarkable drop to 1.0796 on 23rd January, growing to 1.0910 on 28th January before finalising the month at 1.0829.

US Dollar (USD) per 1 Euro (EUR)

Exchange Rate Graph EUR vs USD for January 2016

The main question is, why did the euro rise against the GBP and what caused the dollar drama? Even though the euro is facing a deflation crisis and manufacturing has started out slowly, with numerous other economies in turmoil the euro's stability is starting to seem a potentially safer option.

Interestingly, the pound's two-month continuous slide in contrast to the euro could be the longest since the latter was introduced in 1999. The US Federal Reserve's decision to boost interest rates in December is seemingly helping the US dollar, in spite of the weakness in crude oil pricing which normally sends investors rushing to the euro.

Euro (EUR) per 1 British Pound (GBP)

Exchange Rate Graph GBP vs EUR for January 2016

US Dollar (USD) per 1 British Pound (GBP)

Exchange Rate Graph GBP vs USD for January 2016  

Price Changes


Price Changes and News through January, 2016

Phones and Tablets

Smartphone shipments avoided the single digit growth many analysts predicted for 2015, officially reaching 10.3% YoY growth to 1.293b units, TrendForce reported.

Samsung grabbed the title of top global smartphone vendor for 2015 with 320m units shipped, however, 2015 proved a difficult year for the vendor. It didn’t just drop 3% of its market share to 25%, but in addition it lost high-end market ground to Apple, faced unforgiving competition with Chinese vendors in mid-range and low-end segments, and failed to achieve its Galaxy S5 and Note 5 shipping targets.

Apple followed with 227m units shipped, enjoying 17.7% YoY increase and holding 17.5% market share, mostly as a result of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models. It's worth acknowledging the 6S range didn't generate replacement demand, and is expected to see single digit shipment growth in 2016.

Huawei solidified its place as the biggest Chinese and global no 3 smartphone vendor with a 49% YoY growth to 108m units shipped.

Tablets on the contrary, officially dropped by double digits in 2015, down 12.2% annually to 168.5m units. TrendForce noted market saturation, longevity cycles, restricted functionality, bigger smartphones and 2-in-1 PC adoption continue steadily to push the falling numbers.

IDC's tablet analysis on the contrary, including detachable tablets, reported Q4 shipments were down 13.7% to 65.9m, having a YoY total of 206.8m units, down 10.1%.

Apple retained top spot in the segment, although its market share fell below 30% and iPad shipments dropped 22% YoY to 49.6m. Samsung sat in second with 33.5m units, down 18% YoY. Lenovo's expanding European presence pushed its annual market share up 0.2% to 5.8%, solidifying its place as the no 3 worldwide tablet vendor.

Notebooks and PCs

Holiday sales provided a small amount of joy for PCs with Q4 2015 global PC shipments down 8.3% YoY to 75.7m. Based on Gartner, Q4 was the fifth consecutive quarter of global shipment decline, resulting in annual shipments falling 8% to 288.7m.

Inclusive of desk-based PC, notebook PC and ultramobile premiums, Gartner's report noted Lenovo held the greatest Q4 market share with 20.3% and 15.4m units shipped. HP, Dell, ASUS and Apple followed to round out the best five.

IDC reported Q4 PCs and notebooks shipments dropped to 10.6% YoY with 71.4m, while a context analysis found Q4 PC sales in Western Europe differed a lot, but continued to remain relevantly stable overall with sales for the region dropping just 0.1% YoY.

Sales in Germany (-3.5%), Italy (-3.3%), Sweden (-16.3%) and France (-9.2%) all fell, as the UK (10%), Spain (8.3%), Switzerland (5.9%) and Netherlands (2%) enjoyed growth.

In other PC news, virtual reality technology is shaping up to become a potential bright star for the PC industry when devices for example HTC's VIVE, Oculus's Rift and Samsung's Gear VR 2 hit the open market. Consumers will have to improve existing PCs to utilise the devices, which TrendForce predicts will not happen until 2017.

Premium Ultramobiles

TrendForce's tablet shipment report noted that while Microsoft didn't make the best five for 2015, the vendor's pioneering 2-in-1 Surface series, led by the newest Pro 4 in 2015, enjoyed great sales and premier shipping results, growing almost 50% YoY.

IDC echoed the Trendforce report. Despite worldwide tablet sales dropping consecutively in 2015, shipments for detachable tablets reached a record breaking high with 8.1m devices.

Processors, MEMs, Semiconductors

Changing economies, elevated inventory and weakening demand for key electronic equipment all were factors to the semiconductor market's 1.9% global revenue drop to $333.7bn for 2015.

Based on Gartner, 2015 was a varied year for the industry. The normal volatile memory segment recorded a 0.6% revenue drop, DRAM fell 2.4% YoY, aggressive pricing in the deteriorating NAND flash market helped its revenue grow 4.1%, and ASICs enjoyed 2.4% revenue growth.

Intel remained top of the industry for the 24th year in a row with 15.5% market share, even with dropping 1.2% revenue to $5.17b. Samsung continued it’s ascend enjoying an 11.8% revenue increase to $3.8bn YoY and holding 11.6% market share.

Gartner also reported that Samsung and Apple were the largest semiconductor buyers in 2015, collecting a mix of 17.7% of the marketplace at a price of $59b, up $0.8b on 2014.

In other news, Qualcomm is seeking to increase on its mobile chips industry by establishing a server chipset design and sales unit with the Guizhou provincial government in China. Computer World reported the US tech company will own 45% of the Qualcomm & Guizhou Huaxintong Semi-Conductor Technology joint venture with the government owning the rest of the 55%. The capital active in the joint venture is likely to be $280m.


On a 41% YoY Q4 profit slump, memory giant SK Hynix Inc stated that DRAM chip shipments fell 1% in October to December along with the previous quarter, while the typical selling price dropped 10%. Lower demand for mobile and computers choked industry, it warned. NAND chip shipments were up 4%, but the typical selling price dropped 15%.

DDR3 4Gb DRAM contract prices decreased 6.15% in January in contrast to December. DDR4 4Gb dwindled 8.82% and is closing in on DDR3 pricing. Try to find price parity in Q1 at the first, the firm said.


Q4 2015 HDD shipments fell below 115m, in accordance with TrendFocus, representing a shrink of 3% QoQ. Branded storage was up, enterprise was flat, and other segments were lower. Seagate, Toshiba, and Western Digital were off 3%, 3%, and 4% respectively.


Q4 2015 TV panel shipments reached 68.4m, taking the annual total up 8.9% YoY to 269.7m. LG Display won the title of top TV panel supplier for 2015, with a 6.4% growth in 2015 to 55.3m units.

Innolux claimed second for the 1st time having its highest ever shipment total of 51.73m units, representing a 3.1% YoY. Samsung sat in 3rd place with 50.9m, a decrease of 8% YoY. BOE Technologies cemented 4th place, with a record breaking 148.5% YoY shipment increase to 35.66m.

The LCD panel segment wasn't so successful, falling 0.6% YoY based on TrendForce, despite a good December with 22.73m in large LCD panel shipments (up 4.1% YoY).

Samsung shipped the most in the LCD TV panel segment with 47.9m, down 1.2% YoY, while LG came in second with 29.3m. TCL was third and Hisense fourth, while Sony rounded out the best five global LCD TV panel vendors in shipment terms, suffering a drastic 19.3% drop to 12.1m.

In other panel display news, WitsView reported the mid-range smartphone market and its increasing adoption of Full HD displays were driving smartphone panel shipments, which reached 1.82b units for 2015, and further predict 7% YoY growth for 2016 to 1.95b units.

TrendForce also noted LCD panels for the IT industry (monitors and notebooks) were sluggish in 2015, seeing worldwide shipments of monitor panels falling 11% YoY to 142.2m units, and notebook panels dropping 8% to 176.1m.


3D printer shipments in China alone grew 120% to 77,000 units in 2015, up from 34,000 in 2014, caused largely by desktop 3D printers dropping below $5,000 and active government investments. In accordance with IDC, China will overtake the US in 3D printer shipments in 2016, with another 100% escalation in shipments expected for the year. IDC also revealed a new3D printer report that's predicting worldwide spending on 3D printing to increase at a 27% compound rate from $11b in 2015 to $26.7b in 2019.


TrendForce anticipates Sony to initially lead the VR headset competition against HTC's VIVE, Oculus's Rift and Samsung's Gear VR2 when products enter the market this year. Sony's PlayStation VR and its use with the typical PS4 will prove a good choice for gamers who already own, or plan to buy, a PS4 console, while the competition requires users to upgrade their PCs to operate.


Monthly Stats


New products consistently peak and trough, dropping from 380 on 4th January to bottom out just above zero on 8th January. It increased to 550 on 13th January, dropped again to 80 on 15th January, and was up again to 440 by 19th January before slowly falling to hover around 100 until 27th January. Then, it finished the month with a sharp rise above 200 again.

Cisco held its place dominating price increases by manufacturer. Zebra and Axis Communications led price reductions by manufacturer.

Total price increase and decrease per-day segments were alike in their constant movements, with price increases starting low and gently reaching a high of 28000 by 19th January, while the low of 2500 came suddenly on 26th January before a sharp recovery to just above 15,000 at the end of the month. Decreases rose to nearly 22,000 on 5th January, but experienced most of the month hovering just above and below 5,000 from 6th January to 22nd January where all of a sudden it increased from 1000 to just above 20,000 on 26th January.

New Products January 2016

New Products Graph for January 2016

Prices and Stock Movements January 2016

Prices and Stock Movements Graph for January 2016



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