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

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.

If you’re a regular reader of this column, you’ll know that, for the past few months, the IT channel has been consistently ‘mixed’ – a few highlights here and there but overall, nothing to write home about. That seems to have changed in October which, comparatively, was very positive across several categories. Smartphone shipments grew for the first time in five quarters, tablets and PCs were on the up, wearables continued to soar and 3D printer demand is set to grow from now until the end of 2019.

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

What started off positive ended very flat for the euro against the pound last month. Starting at 0.8882 and rising to a high of 0.8981 by October 9, the euro then fell to 0.8603 on October 19, staying low where it ended the month at 0.8623.

One currency is often influenced by another so it’s not unusual to see different currencies follow the same pattern. However, it was a completely different story against the dollar. The euro started at 1.0908 and rose, hitting 1.0979 by October 7, 1.1034 by October 13, and 1.1165 by October 19. It dipped to 1.1076 on October 26 and recovered to sit at 1.1156 by the end of the month.

According to both the Financial Times and MarketWatch, the euro economy grew 0.2% on the quarter in Q3 and is up +1.1% YoY, while inflation dropped 0.7% in October.

Phones and Tablets

Global smartphone shipments grew for the first time since early 2018 in Q3, rising 1.2% YoY to 360.1m units according to IHS.

Samsung topped the vendor list with 78m, up 10% YoY, ahead of Huawei (+28% to 66.8m units shipped), Apple (-2% to 45.9m), Xiaomi (-6% to 31.4m) and Oppo (+2% to 28.6m).

In tablet news, there was also growth. IDC reported that global shipments grew 1.9% YoY in Q3 to 37.6m units, where Apple enjoyed 21.8% YoY growth to 11.8m units and 31.4% market share. Amazon came in second with +25.6% YoY to 5.5m units, ahead of Samsung (-13.9% YoY to 4.6m), Huawei (-4.4% to 3.6m) and Lenovo (+7.6% to 2.5m).

Traditional PCs

According to Gartner, global PC shipments grew 1.1% YoY in Q3 to 68m units. Lenovo topped the list with 5.8% YoY growth and 16.8m units shipped, ahead of HP (+4.6% to 15.26m), Dell (+5.5% to 11.32m), Apple (-3.7% to 5.1m) and Acer (+3.3% to 4.2m).

The report also noted that the EMEA PC market enjoyed 3% YoY growth in Q3 to 19.4 million units shipped and that business demand remained strong across Western Europe, except for the UK, where it explained Brexit uncertainties are taking their toll.

IDC charted a 3% YoY rise in global traditional PC shipments (desktops, notebooks, and workstations) to 70.4m units. Lenovo topped its list with 24.6% market share.

Gaming PC shipments to Western Europe fell flat in Q2 with a decline of 0.1% YoY according to IDC, less than EMEA’s 1.2% drop to 1.9m units. In the same report, IDC said that, looking ahead, EMEA gaming PC shipments will grow 1.5% YoY for 2019 and continue at 6.8% YoY to 11.1m units by 2023.

Monthly statistics

The number of new products that came onto the market was modest, with a high of 971 new products launching between October 11th and 13th compared to a high of 387 in September and 138 the month before that.

The highest number of total price increases happened on October 28th with 46,527 price hikes (down from last month) occurring across a variety of product categories. At the opposite end of the scale, there were 41,649 price decreases during October 18th to 20th.

As we all know, staying up to speed with market movements is incredibly important – otherwise buyers end up wasting time and money. We recently published the results of a study which analysed more than £12 million worth of tech spending across 20 sectors over a two-year period and found that the average margin being paid across all sectors and purchases was 14.08% – even though The Society of IT Managers, industry best practice states that organisations should not be paying more than a 3% margin to suppliers. For the full results, find our study here.

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