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CONTEXT Research Updates deliver timely insights on key market segments.

  • PCs
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  • 3D Printing

PC Research update


PC units sales drop in Q2 but revenues stronger

London, 28 July 2022 – Unit sales of mobile and desktop PCs through European distributors fell sharply in Q2 2022 (by −15% and −7% year-on-year, respectively) as demand weakened, according to CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company. 


Displays


Consumer slump pulls desktop monitor revenue under 2021 average

London, 06 July 2022 – Worsening performance in the consumer market dragged overall European distributor desktop monitor revenues beneath the index baseline in Week 23 of 2022, according to CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.


Imaging


Inkjet printer revenues rebound on high-end consumer and business sales

London, 26 July 2022 – Revenues from sales of inkjet multifunction printers (MFPs) through European distributors have surged in recent weeks, but not enough to result in year-on-year growth in printer sales for Q2 2022, according to CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.


Enterprise


Enterprise infrastructure revenue in decline in Weeks 21–24

London, 19 July 2022 – European distributor revenue from sales of enterprise infrastructure declined during Weeks 21–24 of 2022 with servers falling most, according to CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.


3D Printing


Quarterly industrial 3D printer shipments accelerate in US and Western Europe as market remains confident of robust full-year growth

Strong order books keep expectations of global growth over the full year high in spite of Covid-induced slowdowns in China

LONDON, 14 July 2022 – In a total reversal of trends seen during pandemic lockdowns in 2020, shipments of the highest-end 3D printers were on the rise and accelerating in Q1 2022 while shipments of consumer-centric systems were down and decelerating, according to the latest by CONTEXT, the market intelligence company.




PC units sales drop in Q2 but revenues stronger

London, 28 July 2022 – Unit sales of mobile and desktop PCs through European distributors fell sharply in Q2 2022 (by −15% and −7% year-on-year, respectively) as demand weakened, according to CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company. 

Revenues, however, were not so badly affected, dropping only −4% for mobile computers and staying flat for desktops. As in previous quarters, revenues benefitted from a rise in average sell prices resulting from price increases and changes in the product mix.

One driver for the drop in demand is the market getting back to ‘normal’ after high sales of mobile PCs at the start of the pandemic. High inflation and energy prices, and uncertainty due to the war in Ukraine, are also weighing on both businesses and consumers, putting additional pressure on a market already in decline.

With supply challenges having improved a great deal since the start of the year, demand is, in some cases, now more important than supply. In fact, in many countries there is excess stock– especially of computers aimed at consumers, education and entry-level business buyers. Given the current economic picture, distributors are having a hard time flushing this out, even with aggressive price promotions. Although supply is improving, component shortages, Covid-related factory closures in Asia and container-ship jams are still causing problems for high-end commercial products.

Focus on notebooks

In the business segment, the general decline in notebook sales over Q2 2022 improved towards the end of the quarter. While the situation varies by country, businesses are, on the whole, increasingly nervous about the economic picture and are trying to minimise the impact of cost increases on cash flow. That means upgrading of devices is being pushed down the priority list, especially as there were many upgrades during the pandemic and many smaller businesses are still recovering from that crisis.

In the consumer market, the quarter has also been weak overall even though a push at the end  offset this to some extent. However, OECD figures suggest consumer confidence in the top five western European countries is now lower than it was at the start of 2020.

Chromebooks performed well last year at times when supply improved and education projects came through. Apple also had a strong end to 2021 and start of 2022, driven by the popularity of its M1-based products. Distributor sales of both slid in Q2 – apart from the uptick at the end of the quarter noted above. In Apple’s case, this is because of component availability issues (due to Asian factory closures) and because it is shifting some of its business away from the channel and towards direct selling. For Chrome, the steep decline is down to a dearth of the large-scale education projects that boosted sales last year in countries like the UK, Italy and Spain. Windows was, therefore, in a dominant position in Q2 with revenues not far below 2021 levels.




Consumer slump pulls desktop monitor revenue under 2021 average

London, 06 July 2022 – Worsening performance in the consumer market dragged overall European distributor desktop monitor revenues beneath the index baseline in Week 23 of 2022, according to CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

CONTEXT’s Revenue Trend Index (RTI) plots performance against a 100 baseline representing the average weekly revenue in 2021. In Week 23, the RTI for monitor revenues overall was just under the baseline but that for consumer sales was more than −80 points below it. However, the business market continued to perform well, standing at just under 120 on the index. The backstory is one of continuing business demand, as offices reopen and are refurbished following the pandemic, while inflation and cost-of-living challenges depress the consumer market. 

As the summer continues, consumers are likely to spend less money on technology hardware and more on holidays and other experiences. A rebound in the desktop monitor market is, therefore, unlikely to happen before the autumn – if there is one at all. 

Countries and channels

The breakdown by sales channel tells a similar story. Corporate resellers are performing better than other distributors, with an RTI of around 120 for Week 23, thanks to demand for kit to upgrade offices. Small and medium resellers are also above the baseline; retail chains and business etailers are slightly under but consumer-focused etailers are stuck on −80. 

France was leading the charge earlier in 2022 but, as of around Week 21, revenues had converged with those in most other countries and were just under the baseline in the range 0 to −90. Italy is something of an outlier, currently tracking at under −80. CONTEXT research shows that it is due to a sharp decline in consumer demand as cost-of-living increases bite hard.

All eyes on docking monitors

The same market dynamics can be seen in the breakdown of revenue performance by monitor purpose. Gaming (−80) and graphics (−50) monitors have sat under the baseline for most of the year, while docking monitors are soaring above it with the RTI standing at over 200 in Week 23. These  monitors feature USB charging and ethernet capabilities making them ideal for hot-desking environments. As firms begin to embrace hybrid working, strong business demand is ensuring that most of the innovation in the market is currently happening in this niche and helping to push up Average Selling Prices (ASPs). Companies with workers splitting their time between home and the office are prepared to spend on more feature-rich models that focus on ease-of-use and connectivity, as they need to invest in fewer units.

Despite rising inflation, ASPs in the consumer space have fallen from a high of €184–5 at the start of 2022 to €180 in May. Meanwhile, ASPs for business desktop monitors rose from €204 in January to €215 in April, before falling back to €205 a month later. Rising ASPs reflect the demand for docking and feature-complete monitors, as do lower unit sales. These trends are broadly expected to continue over the course of the summer.




Inkjet printer revenues rebound on high-end consumer and business sales

London, 26 July 2022 – Revenues from sales of inkjet multifunction printers (MFPs) through European distributors have surged in recent weeks, but not enough to result in year-on-year growth in printer sales for Q2 2022, according to CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

Although revenues from almost all types of printer were higher in May 2022 than in May 2021, overall revenues fell year-on-year in the second quarter. Higher Average Selling Prices (ASPs), and a different product mix, meant revenues dropped more slowly than unit sales. There were increased sales of high-end consumer printers and mid- and high-end business devices, the latter due partly to office re-openings.

Inkjet MFP sales have also benefited from the scarcity of certain laser printer models and revenues have stood above the 100 baseline on the CONTEXT Revenue Trend Index (RTI) since Week 25 of 2022. (The baseline is the weekly average revenue for 2021.) Supply issues that were still having an impact at the start of this year are being addressed, order backlogs are clearing and, at the same time, there is substantially increased demand from the public sector. This is good news for the market as inkjet MFPs account for over 70% of sales by volume and almost 50% by revenue. 

A4 inkjet printers have recently had a greater effect on revenues than A3 models with small businesses in particular looking for high-end consumer and business devices. As a result, this specific part of the market was above 100 on CONTEXT’s RTI in Week 26.

The recent rebound in inkjet cartridge printer sales, particularly those for multifunction devices, has been seen across most major European markets but is particularly strong in Germany and Italy. Revenues have surged in these countries since Week 22 due to solid sales of high-end consumer and business printers. As a result, printer revenues in Germany from this category are following the same trajectory as last year, significantly exceeding revenues from 2020 and standing well above 100 on CONTEXT’s RTI. The same is true in Italy thanks to distributors beginning to ship 100,000 A4 multifunction printers as part of a €55m public tender. The trend is set to continue over the coming weeks with the delivery of further batches of machines for the same project.

Consumer market reaches saturation point

The consumer market appears to be saturated: there has been a dramatic decline in unit sales of entry-level printers over recent weeks. However, consumer revenue fell at a much slower rate thanks to the price increases brought about by continuing shortages of raw materials and components and higher logistics costs, and the product mix leaning towards high-end printers.

Demand for entry-level business printers has also fallen, leading to a year-on-year revenue drop of −9% in Q2 2022. Rising sales of mid- and high-end business devices helped cushion this so revenues from business-targeted printers overall declined by just −5%.

Unit sales of consumables also fell sharply in the second quarter (down by −18%) with declining sales of ink cartridges having a major impact. Here too, revenue dropped at a much slower rate (−7%) due to increased sales of expensive toners for business laser printers. 

The Q2 2022 figures for volume sales of consumables are significantly worse than anticipated, even in the pessimistic scenario of the CONTEXT Forecasting Report - Q2 2022, although the revenue based on the same situation was exactly in line with the forecast. Conversely, when it comes to hardware, the Q2 figures for unit sales and revenues were very close to CONTEXT's optimistic forecasts.




Enterprise infrastructure revenue in decline in Weeks 21–24

London, 19 July 2022 – European distributor revenue from sales of enterprise infrastructure declined during Weeks 21–24 of 2022 with servers falling most, according to CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

The latest CONTEXT view from the Revenue Trend Index (RTI) plots performance against a baseline where 100 represents the average four-week revenue for 2021.

It reveals that, across Europe, server, storage and networking sales over Weeks 21–24 have been trending similarly to the same period over the last two years. However, server revenues dipped around Week 19 and, as of Week 24, they sat at around 70 (-30 under the index baseline). CONTEXT  expects to see some reversal in fortunes over the coming weeks as component issues are ironed out.

The networking category has been performing well since the start of the year, even reaching 120 on the index before a more recent fall: in Week 24, the RTI  for networking was around −90 (10 below the baseline). Storage revenues, on the other hand, have been running closer to the 2021 trend. They crossed below the baseline around Week 17. 

Driven by the need for faster speeds and more bandwidth, enterprises are adopting WiFi 6 access points with gusto. Revenues from sales of these exceed those of the past two years .

Considering the top five countries as a whole, networking revenues for Weeks 21–24 are up on the same period in 2020 and just shy of 2021 figures. There were slight year-on-year falls in revenue in Germany (−5%) and the UK (−3%) but growth in France (+3%) Italy (+4%) and Spain (+2%).

In most of the top five markets, revenues from switching products have declined towards 2020 levels in recent weeks. Only in Italy are they above those in 2020 and 2021, and Spain is the only market on a growth path.

Over the past two years, Enterprise flash arrays have benefitted from growing market acceptance and maturity, leading to +23% year-on-year revenue growth in Weeks 21–24. Performance was strongest in Germany (+37%), France (+34%) and the UK (+8%), with just inched into growth in Spain (1%), leaving Italy, which recorded –11% growth, as an outlier – although we expect things there to turn around in time, as logistics and supply improve as well as faster new technology gets adopted.




Quarterly industrial 3D printer shipments accelerate in US and Western Europe as market remains confident of robust full-year growth

full content in research-updates/3d_printing page

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