• IT Supply Chain Insights - January 2018

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 December 4, with 46,032 rises in a single day.

Jump to Monthly Stats
  • TV shipments to recover in 2018
  • SSD shipments and revenue set for rapid rise
  • Semiconductor sales to reach over $400bn

It was an interesting month for the B2B IT market in December. Smartphones were set for record production growth, Western Europe’s PC sales were up but printer shipments were down, wearables continued to grow while LCD TV shipments posted a YoY decline. SSD shipments were about to expand, as demand for NAND flash was expected to decline.


Exchange Rate


December proved to be a positive month for the Euro vs £. Falling from 0.8813 on Dec 1 to 0.8748 by Dec 8-9, the euro then rose, reaching 0.8878 by Dec 21 and 0.8880 by Dec 28, before ending the month at 0.8877.

Similarly, against the USD the euro started at 1.1901 and fell to 1.1757 by Dec 8-9. Staying low for the next week, a recovery didn’t begin until jumping from 1.1748 on Dec 17 to 1.1869 on Dec 21 and again to 1.1979, where it sat from Dec 29 to 31.

British Pound (GBP) per 1 Euro (EUR)

Similarly, against the USD the euro started at 1.1901 and fell to 1.1757 by Dec 8-9. Staying low for the next week, a recovery didn’t begin until jumping from 1.1748 on Dec 17 to 1.1869 on Dec 21 and again to 1.1979, where it sat from Dec 29 to 31.

The Financial Times said the eurozone posted its strongest month in 20 years with PMI hitting 60.6 in December. The economy also came close to a three-year high when it climbed 0.6% against the USD and 0.4% against the GBP, while inflation fell away from the ECBs goal of 2%.

US Dollar (USD) per 1 Euro (EUR)

Euro (EUR) per 1 British Pound (GBP)

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

Price Changes and News Through December 2017


Phones and Tablets

TrendForce reported Global smartphone production grew 6.5% YoY to 1.46bn units in 2017. 2018 will not be as strong, with production growth dropping to 5%. Vendors will ship 1.53bn units.

The report states 2018 will see smart phone user experience enhanced with 18:9 all-screen models, wide-angle and dual-camera features becoming mainstream along with facial recognition and fingerprint reaching mass production by 2H.

Traditional PCs

Western Europe posted an 8% YoY growth in sales of PC workstations in early Q4, continuing the trend from Q3’s 7% YoY and Q2 10% YoY sales growth. According to Contect, HP led the market with 32% YoY growth, while Lenovo enjoyed 21% more sales in notebook stations. Dell’s volume sales were up 64%. The UK’s October sales were reportedly 52.1% up YoY.

Premium Ultramobiles/Wearables

Global wearable shipments will grow 18.4% from 113.2m units in 2017 to 222.3m by 2021 accoridng to IDC. Basic and smart watches are expected to overtake wristbands on the back of fashion brands incorporating connectivity. IDC predicts the watch segment to grow from 61.5m units in 2017 to 149.5m in 2021.

Global spending on IoT will reach $772.5bn in 2018, up 14.6% YoY from $674bn in 2017. According to IDC, while consumer spending on IoT will reach $62bn in 2018, corporate will take it to $1tr in 2020 and $1.1tr in 2021, where 55% of spending will be on software and services.

Processors, MEMs, Semiconductors

Semiconductor sales grew 21.5% YoY and 1.6% on the month to $37.7bn world-wide for November. According to the Semiconductor Industry Association, November set a record for the highest monthly sales and the industry is well on track to achieve $400bn in sales for 2017. By region, the Americas boasted 40.2% YoY and 2.6% growth on the month, followed by Europe (18.8% and 1.8%) and China (18.5% and 2.1%).

Meanwhile, global semiconductor revenue reached $419.7bn in 2017, up 22.2% YoY, according to Gartner. Samsung led the market with $61.215bn (+52.6% YoY) and 14.6% of the market, closely followed by Intel with $57.712bn (+6.7%) and 13.8% of the market. SK Hynix, Micron Technology and Qualcomm rounded out the top five vendors.


Demand for NAND flash by notebooks, tablets and smartphones could drop by as much as 15% in Q1 2018 on the quarter, due to it being a traditional off-season. This could take industry-wide NAND flash demand down by up to 5%, TrendForce reported.


Despite the short-term dip in fortunes for NAND flash, IDC has forecast global SSD shipments to grow 15.1% and revenue up 14.8% through 2021, on the back of improved pricing, industry transition to 3D NAND flash, and an increased use in servers and data centres.

Western Europe’s external storage market achieved growth in Q3, IDC reported. All-flash array shipments were up nearly 30%, while value grew 14.2% and capacity up 26.4% to 2,523.2 petabytes. Germany drove most growth, while the UK remained flat.

Across EMEA, the value of external storage was up 10.33%. HDDs dropped 15.9%. By vendor, Dell’s 26.14% market share and $429.1m, led HP, NetApp, IBM and Hitachi.


According to TrendForce, global LCD branded TV shipments fell 4.1% to 210m units in 2017, but will grow 3.9% to 218m in 2018 on the back of panel price drops. Samsung will remain top vendor in 2018 with 42.5m shipments (-1%), followed by LG (+0.7% to 28.5m), TCL (+6.7% to 15.3m), Hisense (+9.4% to 14m) and HCL (+0.4% to 12.3m).

The growth in large panel fab will contribute to larger panel prices fall 5% annually.

In other news, Context found Western Europe’s desktop monitors sales grew 12% in the first six weeks of Q4 to reach €374m, with sales of premium consumer models (over €300), up nearly 42% YoY.


Q3 printer shipments to EMEA were stable, Context reported, with Western Europe accounting for more than 65% of all printer shipments and a 3% YoY decline. The UK enjoyed 1% growth.


Monthly Stats

There were 3,877 new product introductions between Dec 1-3, falling to just 92 on Dec 4, and 8 between Dec 8-10. However, pre-Xmas, there was a brief spike of 315 introductions between Dec 22-24 before rocketing to 6,120 on Dec 26, only to fall to 0 from Dec 29-31.

Cisco led both price increases and price reductions by manufacturer.

Total price increases per day started at 2,791, jumped to 23,103 by Dec 5, dropped to 4,107 on Dec 8-10, recovered, fell, hit a high of 33,710 on Dec 18, fell to a low of 690 by Dec 27, and saw out the year at 16,391.

Price decreases per day started at 36,745 and jumped to a high of 46,032 on Dec 4 before slowly falling to 7,986 on Dec 8-10. Another rise and fall with little stability followed, before dropping to 675 on Dec 26 and recovering to 15,830 on Dec 29-31.

Stock up started at 4,084, jumped to 7,369 on Dec 5, fell, recovered and held steady, before dipping to 190 on Dec 27 and ending the month at 2,264.

Stock down jumped from 14,662 on Dec 1-3 to 17,481 on Dec 5 and held steady around 15,000 until dropping to a low of 1,839 on Dec 27. It saw out the year at 5,522.

New Products December 2017


Prices and Stock Movements December 2017


Get this monthly IT supply chain news direct to your inbox

Subscribe now

Recent Issues