• IT Supply Chain Insights - April 2016

Welcome to this monthly IT Supply Chain Insights. 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 March 23, with 23,084 rises in a single day.

Jump to Monthly Stats
  • Smartphones officially in single digit growth period
  • All-flash array storage booms
  • Server revenue and units shipped enjoy YoY growth

March turned out to be a bright month for the euro, while reports suggest there are several positives ahead for the frequently negative IT channel.

The euro enjoyed an increase of growth compared to both the GBP and USD, rescued from its initial falls at the start of the month. While, the 29th March turned out to be a low point for stock movements.

In other news, smartphone forecasts suggest worldwide shipment growth is officially in single digits. Panel shipments were suspended by an earthquake off Taiwan, but may prove beneficial down the road. Chromebooks continue their expansion into to the education market, and detachable devices are increasingly being hailed as a saviour for the tablet and notebook markets


Exchange Rate


The euro concluded March surprisingly strong compared to GBP after what originally seemed to be yet another month of turbulence. Beginning at 0.7795 and dropping to 0.7725 on 3rd March, the euro then stood still for a week. Three fundamental increases then pursued, first to 0.7750, then after an abrupt fall, it increased to 0.7857 on 16th March, followed closely by the month peak 0.7912 on 24th March. The euro fell again, saved by the increase that occurred on 29th March concluding the month at 0.7902.

US Dollar (USD) per 1 Euro (EUR)

Exchange Rate Graph EUR vs USD for March 2016

Like the GBP, the euro grew strong compared to the USD, slowly increasing with verly little negative movements. Starting at 1.0872 and declining to the monthly low 1.0859 on the 2nd March, the euro increased gradually for the remainder of the month, first reaching 1.1152 by 11th March and 1.1294 on 18th March. A dramatic fall to 1.1162 between 21st to 24th March then recovered, rising conclude the month at 1.1355.

British Pound (GBP) per 1 Euro (EUR)

Exchange Rate Graph EUR vs GBP for March 2016


Euro (EUR) per 1 British Pound (GBP)

Exchange Rate Graph GBP vs EUR for March 2016

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

Exchange Rate Graph GBP vs USD for March 2016  

Price Changes


Price Changes and News throughout March 2016

Phones and Tablets

Smartphone sales to end users in Q4 2015 progressed just 9.7% YoY to 403m, claimed Gartner, although it was the segment’s slowest growth rate since 2008.

The report states, the twelve-month tally reached 1.4b, up 14.4% YoY, and while Samsung and Huawei were the only top-five vendors to increase sales, Apple’s iPhone experienced its first sales decline, down 4.4% YoY.

Sales of low cost smartphones in emerging markets, a more robust demand for superior smartphones, 85% of the emerging Asia/Pacific market upgrading midrange smartphones with the same category, and currency devaluations against the United States Dollar all factor to the slow quarter sales.

In other smartphone news, Hewlett Packard declared plans to target the security vigilant business market with its Elite x3 smartphone running Windows 10 and boasting finger-print and iris recognition security. A desk dock attachment will allow employees to use Microsoft Office programs with their keyboard, mouse and display, while the portable extender device permits a 12.5” display and keyboard with access to the phone’s files and apps.

Notebooks and PCs

Global notebook shipments dropped dramatically in 2015 due to the impact of currency depreciation, TrendForce reported, with shipments falling 6.3% YoY to 164.4m.

Lenovo the glimmer of hope in an otherwise dark year for notebook vendors, narrowing the business gap on HP with a 6.9% increase in unit shipments to grab 19.9% of the market. HP preserved its top spot with 20.5% of the market. The two suppliers are needing to continue their rivalry in 2016, while Dell is expected to retain third place thanks to robust US Chromebook sales.

Apple overtook ASUS and Acer to be the next biggest brand in the 2015 rankings, increasing the worldwide market share to 10.34% because of MacBook sales and strong demand in the US.

Premium Ultramobiles

A quarter of the 14m tablets shipped to Western European countries in Q4 2015 were detachable, and despite market volume being down 10.1%, value was down just 1.8% YoY. According to the same IDC analysis, Microsoft managed its position as the established detachable leader, while Apple achieved a good share of this market in Q4 with the introduction of the iPad Pro.

Worldwide shipments of wearables increased 126.9% YoY to 27.4m in Q4 2015, taking annual shipments up 171.6% to 78.1m YoY.

According to IDC, Fitbit maintained its position as undisturbed worldwide innovator with 21m annual deliveries, it shipped 8.1m units in Q4. Apple’s Watch was number 3 annually with 11.6m units shipped, and number two for the quarter (4. 1m units).

Gartner predicted that worldwide wearable sales will increase 18.4% YoY in 2016, predicting 274.6m products to be sold, an increase from 232m in 2015. Revenue is also forecasted to generate $28.7b, $11.5b (50. 5m units) of which is from smartwatches.

According to the report, the fitness industry is expected to maintain is average retail prices over the next several years as cyclists, hikers and divers continue to pick sports watches over smartwatches. It expects the emerging head-mounted display market will progress well into mainstream adoption.

Processors, MEMs, Semiconductors

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) released its 2015 worldwide sales and revenue report this month, making note Dec sales ($27.6b) dropped 4.4% on Nov and Q4 sales ($82.9b) dipped 5.2% YoY, while annual sales revenue decreased just 0.2% YoY to $335.2b.

According to SIA, Logic was the major semiconductor category by sales in 2015 with $90.8b and 27% of the market, accompanied by memory ($77.2b) and micro-ICs ($61.3b) to make the top 3.

In addition SIA released their research of worldwide semiconductor sales for the first part of 2016, confirming a slow start to the year with January sales down 2.7% on December and 5.8% on January 2015.

ABI released its 2015 mobile processor shipment analysis, which, even though enjoying a 13% YoY increase in shipments, proved a demanding for suppliers like Qualcomm, whose market dropped 6% to 31% as a result of top clients (namely Samsung and Huawei), with the reliance on in-house cpus increasing.

Meanwhile, TrendForce is forecasting total capital expenditure between the top three semiconductor producers (Intel, TSMC and Samsung) will grow 5.4% YoY in 2016, almost tripling the sluggish industry average that is predicted to reach 2.1% growth.

The report also forecasts Samsung to continue to increase its attention to semiconductors, after enjoying a 20% rise in annual revenue for 2015, within the same year the annual profit for its smartphone business dropped 20.6%.


Despite Q4 notebook shipments seeming more dynamic than expected and Apple iPhone 6s shipments aiding market demand, DRAMeXchange (TrendForce) announced that reduced average selling prices and persistent market oversupply led to global DRAM revenue dipping 9.1% on the quarter in Q4 2015 to $10.27b.

Samsung claimed the best DRAM supplier position for both market share (46.4%) and revenue, although a 9.7% fall in revenues from Q3 to $4.76b in Q4. SK Hynix came in at number 2 with a 9.3% revenue decrease to $2.87b on the quarter and 27.9% market share.

In the mobile DRAM segment, DRAMeXchange recorded consistent smartphone shipments held the segment to only a 1% decline in worldwide revenue for Q4. Samsung appreciated a 1.3% escalation in revenue on Q3, whilst in second place SK Hynix experienced a 2.1% dip and Micron in third place decreased 7.7% for the equivalent period of time.

In contrast, PC DRAM suffered a 16% quarterly price dip in Q4, and Q1 2016 isn't looking any brighter. A DRAMeXchange analysis in PC DRAM found contract charges for DDR3 (-6.15%) and DDR4 (-8.82%) both fell in January in comparison to December Seasonality and a predicted 20% decline in worldwide notebook shipments are a burden on DRAM manufacturers to reduce contract prices and help move inventory.


Personal & entry-level storage (PELS) shipments fell 9.2% YoY in 2015 to 68.5m units, with annual revenue also decreased 15.1% YoY to $5.4b. Based on the IDC report, Q4 2015 was also unfavourable, with shipments down 6.8% to 19.1m units and revenue down 12.6% to $1.5b.

With cloud storage having negative effects on demand for PELS, 2015 was also the first full year of decline for the PELS market since the 2011 Thailand floods. In the breakdown of the market analysis, 99% of all shipments in Q4 were personal storage, to which competitive pricing led to the 3-5TB drives in the 3.5” segment overtaking the 1-2TB with 51.5% of units shipped. Western Digital led with 31.82% market share, followed closely by Seagate and Toshiba. These three vendors also experienced shrinking shipments YoY.


A recently available WitsView (TrendForce) report showed display panel shipments have dramatically dropped across all segments in January on December. Large-size LCD panels fell 16.8% to 54.47m, TV panels dropped 13.8% to 19.59m, monitor panels fell 17.5% to 10.18m, notebook panels down 19.8% to 11.97m and tablet panels dipped 17.7% to 15.73m units.


IDC stated that the Q4 unit shipments in the Western European printer and multifunction market were down 4.9% YoY, with both inkjet and laser shipment feeling the pain. Q4 2015 saw 6.5m units shipped, down 333,000, mostly as a result of tightening in the buyer market. Revenues rose 1% as a result of lasers, which helped to support the industry as inkjet revenues slid 14.3%.


Monthly Stats


Beginning at 529, new products immediately fell, first to 30 on the 2nd of March and again to 14 on the 5th-6th March following a minor rise to 400 on the 3rd March. This see-saw effect continued throughout month, with significant movements including a peak to 691 on 24th March, and a dip to 0 on the 29th March, before ending the month back up at 431.

Dell and HP led total new products by brand with Fujitsu, Samsung and Cisco tailing behind them, while Cisco dominated both price increase and price decreases by manufacturer.

Daily price increases rose quickly, then dipped, and continued like this for the whole month. After reaching a peak of 23,084 on 23rd March, the segment then dropped to zero on 29th March, with a small recovery coming to the end of the month at 4,309.Daily price reductions fell initially, recovered, reached a peak of 29,920 on 3rd March, and then spent the succeeding week dropping until it rested at 1,463 on the 12th March. The rest of the month saw more rises and falls, a decline to 946 on the 29th March, and then an increase to conclude the month on 26,483.

Stock movements experienced two major peaks. The initial came on 11th March where stock decreases hit 55,600, and the next with stock increases reaching 54,891 on the 14th March. All segments experienced dramatic movement throughout the month, with some finding stability at the start and end, and all falling simultaneously on the 29th March.

New Products March 2016

New Products Graph for March 2016

Prices and Stock Movements March 2016

Prices and Stock Movements Graph for March 2016


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