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CONTEXT Research Updates deliver timely insights on key market segments.

  • PCs
  • Displays
  • Imaging
  • Enterprise
  • 3D Printing

PC Research update


Workstation sales across Western Europe up again in early Q4 2019

London, 15 November 2019 – Combined sales of notebook and desktop workstations through Western Europe’s largest distributors continued to rise in early Q4 2019 following healthy consolidated growth during the first three quarters of the year, according to the latest distribution data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company. Volume sales were up by +3% year-on-year in October having increased by +7% over Q1 to Q3 2019.

Displays


Growing demand for premium monitors in consumer channels

London, 10 October 2019 – Total distribution sales of desktop monitors in West Europe (WE) were down in August, mainly as a result of weak sales to business channels. However, sales to retail and consumer etail were up, according to data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

Imaging


Early Q3 sees healthy demand for consumer and business laser MFPs

London, 11 September 2019 – The start of Q3 2019 saw printer sales continue to follow the pattern that has characterised the past few quarters, with healthy demand from consumer and business laser multifunction printers (MFPs), according to the latest distribution data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

Enterprise


Brexit feast time in Ireland?

London, 15 November 2019 – As Brexit looms, the IT distribution channel Enterprise market in Ireland is thriving with double-digit growth in the server, storage and networking segments, according to the latest data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

3D Printing


Material Consumption in Industrial Metal 3D Printing up +21% so far in 2019

London, 07 November 2019 – Only 28% of installed 3D printers costing over $5,000 fall into the INDUSTRIAL* price class, but they accounted for 56% of all material used in the last year. There are currently more than twice as many INDUSTRIAL polymer (plastics) printers than metals printers installed but, in recent years, the metals side of the market has seen greater growth in both printer shipments and materials utilisation. On a trailing- twelve-month (TTM) basis through to Q2 2019, INDUSTRIAL metal based 3D printers used 21% more material than in the previous year.




Workstation sales across Western Europe up again in early Q4 2019

London, 15 November 2019 – Combined sales of notebook and desktop workstations through Western Europe’s largest distributors continued to rise in early Q4 2019 following healthy consolidated growth during the first three quarters of the year, according to the latest distribution data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company. Volume sales were up by +3% year-on-year in October having increased by +7% over Q1 to Q3 2019.

The latest rise was due to growing sales of both mobile and stationary systems: mobile workstation sales increased by +2% year-on-year while those of desktops were up by +4%. This growth was mostly confined to the top three vendors in the distribution channel: HP, Lenovo and Dell.

Workstation demand in 2019 has so far been driven by a number of factors. Among these are Windows 10 migration, new product launches, and the rising need for high-performance systems – not only in traditional fields, such as engineering and design, but also for new applications including AI and virtual reality.

Although workstations remain a small segment within personal systems in terms of volumes, they represent important revenue and margin drivers: while accounting for only 2% of PC systems sold through Western Europe’s largest distributors in October, they generated 5% of PC revenues. During this time, distributor average sell prices were €1,472 for mobile and €1,127 for stationary workstations (excl. BTO).

                                   Workstation volume sales: WE distribution

                     Distributor average sell price (ASP) in €, excl. BTO: WE




Growing demand for premium monitors in consumer channels

London, 10 October 2019 – Total distribution sales of desktop monitors in West Europe (WE) were down in August, mainly as a result of weak sales to business channels. However, sales to retail and consumer etail were up, according to data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

Overall sales of desktop monitors through WE distributors grew by +4% year-on-year in early Q3 (July and August) but this figure hides a strong uptick (+13%) in July that was followed by a decline of -2% in August as both business- and consumer-targeted models performed poorly and sales to business channels sales declined by -6%. The only bright spot in the data for the month is that sales through consumer channels (retail and etail) continued to grow and were up by +4% year-on-year.

     Desktop monitors: year-on-year change in sales by channel, WE distribution

The latest results show that the growing number of models with larger or curved screens targeted at creative professionals and gamers are also attracting consumers and accelerating monitor refreshes and purchases. In August alone, sales of gaming models and those with curved screens grew by over 50% year-on-year and most of these were sold to consumer channels (70% to consumer etail). Other models enjoying increased interest were those with refresh rates of 100Hz and above: 144Hz monitors accounted for 13% sales to consumer channels in the month – a year-on-year increase of +75%.

Desktop monitors: Unit sales to consumer channels - key categories, WE distribution

 

Monitors aimed at business users and priced between €186 and €197 also drove growth in consumer channels. These models are not the cheapest available to businesses, so the results confirm that consumers are keen to invest in high-spec monitors that are not only attractive for gamers and creatives but also for home offices.

Business-targeted monitors: ASP by channel, WE distribution

 

Historically, Q4 is the strongest quarter for consumer sales, particularly those of premium monitors. Therefore, we should see even more sales through consumer channels in the months leading up to the Christmas season.

*Q3: includes July and August.
**Gaming: displays designed for gamers and described by vendor as such.




Early Q3 sees healthy demand for consumer and business laser MFPs

London, 11 September 2019 – The start of Q3 2019 saw printer sales continue to follow the pattern that has characterised the past few quarters, with healthy demand from consumer and business laser multifunction printers (MFPs), according to the latest distribution data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

However, volume sales of printers through West Europe’s largest distributors were down by -4.4% year-on-year in July 2019. The sharp growth of +9.1% in sales of laser MFPs (mainly driven by the exceptional growth of +30% Y/Y in the consumer segment during early Q3), was offset by the sharp decline of inkjet devices (SFPs -15.5% and MFPs -6.4%) and laser SFPs (-6.9%). With distributors reporting that reseller demand for SFPs, particularly lower-spec models, is low, the ongoing shift from single- to multifunction devices is likely to be further consolidated.

Business laser MFPs, which account for 73% of sales and 89% of revenue, registered a small year-on-year volume growth of +2.9% in July 2019, leading to an increase in revenue of +9.3% and reversing the negative trend the market saw in 2018 and 2019.

Sales of, and revenues from, laser MFPs increased in almost all WE countries in July 2019. In Italy, overall printer sales continued to grow in terms of both units and revenues (+14% and +28% year-on-year respectively) with most retailers and small resellers buying from distributors thanks to their ability to offer credit lines and smaller minimum order sizes. Vendors are also benefiting from this shift which transfers financial risk to the distribution channel. However, the question now is how much distributors will ask from vendors to compensate for the higher risk they are taking.

The United Kingdom also registered strong year-on-year growth in sales of laser MFPs in July 2019, in terms of both units (+12%) and revenues (+11%), driven by the business segment (+9.2%) which accounts for 87% of laser MFP sales (96.4% in terms of revenue) in the country. Consumer laser MFPs registered outstanding growth (sales up by +33% and revenue +31%) but they only account for 13% of sales and 3.6% of revenue.

It is expected that both consumer and business demand for laser MFPs will remain strong throughout the second half of 2019 as new products become available. Lexmark, for example, is to roll out a much-needed revamp of its colour laser printers: its GO Line of more compact and faster SFPs and MFPs aimed at small and medium businesses will be available worldwide by mid-September.

While a range of promotional activities during the upcoming back-to-school and Black Friday periods are likely to lead consumer sales for the rest of the year, overall printer demand is expected to remain soft.

Consumer printer volumes and Y/Y change by category – WE distribution

Business printer volumes and Y/Y change by category – WE distribution




Brexit feast time in Ireland?

London, 15 November 2019 – As Brexit looms, the IT distribution channel Enterprise market in Ireland is thriving with double-digit growth in the server, storage and networking segments, according to the latest data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

 

                                WE Enterprise market revenue growth

In a market that is declining overall in West Europe (WE), there were large year-on-year revenue increases in Ireland during both Q2 2019 (+34.8%) and Q3 2019 (+26%). In contrast, the UK Enterprise market declined by -14% in Q3 2019 – the second-worst performance of any WE country.

                               WE Enterprise Server market revenue growth

                    WE Enterprise Server market revenue growth by categories

Enterprise server segment is one of the drivers of the market in Ireland. Server systems and server upgrades have made equal contributions to growth over the two last quarters, showing that companies are not only upgrading existing systems but also buying new ones. In particular, datacentre categories, such as Blade and high-end rack servers, are enjoying a noticeable upturn.

 

                            WE Enterprise Storage market revenue growth

The Enterprise storage market is also participating in the feast. During a strong Q3 2019, backups and disk array systems led the pack in terms of revenues – but SSD storage upgrades saw an impressive +67.3% year-on-year increase in units with +92% more total addressable capacity (i.e. gigabytes) sold in Q3 2019 than in Q3 2018.

                        WE Enterprise Networking market revenue growth

Enterprise networking has not been left behind: the Irish market has enjoyed the fourth-highest growth in West Europe over both the latest quarters of 2019.

 

These figures suggest that, with the Brexit deadline looming, companies have started to get real about the need to have back-up on EU soil to avoid data compliance issues if the UK leaves the EU on a no-deal basis or with a light deal. There is little doubt that the current delays in Westminster are working in Ireland’s favour, but the country has an advantageous business and digital tax environment and state-of-the-art off-island fibre connectivity that make it an attractive place to settle for digital companies looking for European home. There are already 55 active data centres in Ireland, another 35 in the pipeline, with 8 of these under construction. Continuing massive investment by Google, Amazon, SAP and others is also pushing the Irish market up. It will be interesting to follow the evolution of the Enterprise market over the next few months – and through until the end of the proposed transition period in December 2020 (if it is put in place) – as it will help us understand how much of the growth observed in Ireland over the two last quarters is Brexit related.




Material Consumption in Industrial Metal 3D Printing up +21% so far in 2019

 

The growing number of installed 3D printers focused on mass-production is leading to higher global utilisation of materials

London, 07 November 2019 – Only 28% of installed 3D printers costing over $5,000 fall into the INDUSTRIAL* price class, but they accounted for 56% of all material used in the last year. There are currently more than twice as many INDUSTRIAL polymer (plastics) printers than metals printers installed but, in recent years, the metals side of the market has seen greater growth in both printer shipments and materials utilisation. On a trailing- twelve-month (TTM) basis through to Q2 2019, INDUSTRIAL metal based 3D printers used 21% more material than in the previous year.

The two major trends that have driven material utilisation over recent years are: (1) the growth in the installed printer base; and (2) the increasing use of new printers for serial mass-production rather than just prototyping. 3D printing has always excelled in mass-customisation (making thousands of slightly different parts for items such as clear dental aligners or hearing aids), but its ability to produce an ever-larger number of the same good is being made use of more often. What is considered ‘mass-production’ cannot be defined in terms of specific unit volumes because it is relative to the market being described: it means something totally different for consumer electronics (where products need to be produced in their millions) than in, say, aerospace (where there is a market for only hundreds of a particular product). Each new generation of INDUSTRIAL 3D printer that has hit the market has pushed the envelope so that many printers are now able to produce not just hundreds of the same item in a reliable manner but tens – or even hundreds – of thousands. And, as more and more installed printers are able to mass-produce goods, the amount of material they require inevitably increases.

Global shipments of metals 3D printers increased by +26% in 2018. Most of these (83%) were of the INDUSTRIAL varieties that are best suited to serial mass-production (either powder bed fusion or binder jetting). The resultant combination of a growing base and increased ability to produce more goods resulted in the use of +21% more material by INDUSTRIAL metals printers over the last year.

INDUSTRIAL- class polymers printing has also seen gains over the last year with consumption up by +13% on a TTM basis. Consumption of the sub-set of polymers called thermoplastics rose by +11% – mostly thanks to the general trend toward the use of power bed fusion printers for serial production and, in particular, a growing installed base of models from HP, which saw material utilisation rise +40% over the year. Photopolymers saw a year-on-year increase in materials use of +19% thanks to the growing number of DLP-based vat photopolymerisation printers installed – including new machines from Carbon as well as Figure-4/NextDent machines from 3D Systems and Envision One printers from EnvisionTEC.

Chart 1: Global material utilisation (Millions/kg) of

INDUSTRIAL-class 3D printers

While companies are continuing to try to bring down the price of materials (which remains much higher, weight-for-weight, than that of those used in conventional manufacturing), the growing installed base means that the revenues they generate is still rising. Revenues from materials for INDUSTRIAL metals-focused additive manufacturing machines were up +20% on a TTM basis, and those from polymers for INDUSTRIAL printing up by +12%.

Chart 2: Revenues ($ billions) from INDUSTRIAL* 3D printer materials

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