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CONTEXT Research Updates deliver timely insights on key market segments.

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

PC Research update


Sales of docking stations and mobile computer cases up strongly since start of pandemic

London, 30 March 2021 – Sales of mobile accessories, including docking stations and computer cases, have seen significant growth since the start of the pandemic, according to the latest data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.


Displays




London, 9 April 2021 – Sales of large-format displays (LFDs) in Western Europe (WE) during 2020 were significantly affected by the pandemic and there have been little signs of recovery in early Q1 2021, according to the latest data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company. Declining sales reflected the impact of lockdown measures as LFDs are heavily used in public settings. On the positive side, sales of interactive displays remained relatively stable and have begun to grow in the last few months.


Imaging


Inkjet MFP sales through European distribution plunge in April amid a shortage

London, 09 June 2021 – Sales of printers through European distributors fell sharply in April 2021 (by -11.3% year-on-year in terms of units), according to the latest data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.


Enterprise


Enterprise Networking grows significantly in April

London, 12 May 2021 –  After a challenging 2020 and beginning of 2021 for Enterprise Networking affected negatively by the working from home and business closures, European revenues show an impressive growth in April 2021 signalling a return to business as usual, according to the latest data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.


3D Printing


30 years of 3D Printer Shipments in 30 seconds

The 3D printer market* is often thought of as a single cohesive entity. Yet the reality is much different as you’ll see from this unique high-level view of industry trends over the past three decades. [Full animated graph available here]




Sales of docking stations and mobile computer cases up strongly since start of pandemic

London, 30 March 2021 – Sales of mobile accessories, including docking stations and computer cases, have seen significant growth since the start of the pandemic, according to the latest data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

As the need for mobile devices has increased – driven by the rise of homeworking and e-learning, and increased time on video calls, gaming and streaming – so has demand for accessories. In 2020, volume sales of docking stations through Europe’s largest distributors were up by +27% compared to 2019, while those of mobile carry cases increased by +27.3%. This has been followed by even stronger growth during the first two months of 2021: docking station sales were up +34% year-on-year in January and February, and case sales were up by +38%.

Increased demand for docking stations can clearly be attributed to the number of people having to set up offices in their homes. That of mobile carry cases is due, in part, to sales to the education market but as commercial organisations prepare for future hybrid working models, sales to this sector are also on the rise.

Volume sales of docking stations in the first two months of 2021 were up by +39%, +5%, and +57% year-on-year in Germany, the UK and France respectively. These are Western Europe’s largest markets for these products. In the largest markets across Central and Eastern Europe – Poland and the Czech Republic – sales grew by +82% and +12%.

Back in Western Europe, the UK saw the greatest sales of mobile computing cases in early Q1 2021 with a volume increase of +82%. It was followed by Germany, with growth of +94%, and France where sales rose by +15%. In Central and Eastern Europe, year-on-year sales in Poland (the largest market) were up by +17% and those in the Czech Republic grew by +31%.

                                       Docking stations: European distribution

                                  Mobile computing cases: European distribution






London, 9 April 2021 – Sales of large-format displays (LFDs) in Western Europe (WE) during 2020 were significantly affected by the pandemic and there have been little signs of recovery in early Q1 2021, according to the latest data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company. Declining sales reflected the impact of lockdown measures as LFDs are heavily used in public settings. On the positive side, sales of interactive displays remained relatively stable and have begun to grow in the last few months.

In early Q1 2021*, increased demand for cheaper LFDs coupled with reduced average selling prices (ASPs) helped to drive sales growth at the cost of revenues: overall sales declined by −1% year-on-year while revenues fell by more than −6%. Sales of displays whose ASPs fell noticeably – those with 75" and 65" screens – grew in early Q1 but, in the meantime, those of more mainstream models with 55" screens continued to fall.

Large format displays: volume sales and year-on-year growth, WE distribution

Lockdown definitely put brakes on an LFD market that was thriving in 2019; however, the last twelve months have also shown that collaboration is vital to deliver results during a pandemic. This has resulted in sales of interactives screens quickly returning to pre-pandemic levels once companies established new ways of working By Q4, these models were in higher demand and the trend has continued into early Q1 with +37% year-on-year growth in volume sales and +12% growth in revenues. It appears the pandemic has accelerated modernising and digitalisation in education as well as business; classrooms across Europe are being equipped with collaboration tools as schools and universities develop creative learning approaches for remote- and hybrid-learning environments. The challenges these ways of working pose for both teachers and students require new hardware and software. Despite economic slowdowns and shrinking government budgets, many countries have realised that investment in public education is now more important than ever. Sales of touchscreen displays designed for collaboration and classroom use more than doubled in Italy and Spain during early Q1 2021. Distributors in the UK, Germany and France saw less spectacular – but still good – increases (10- 15%). Price drops again played an important role in spurring demand, with significant reductions in the prices of many popular interactive displays – in some cases, models cost as much as −20% less than in 2019.

Interactive displays: year-on-year sales growth and ASP, WE distribution

The outlook for the industry is positive, despite the difficult environment which means the pace of recovery may remain slow. There are opportunities for the LFD industry as lockdowns gradually ease, societies begin to reopen, and the world finds out what the new normal will be. Digital signage will definitely be an effective tool for many restaurants, shops and large venues facing challenges such as safe and efficient communication and indoor traffic management. LFDs and interactive screens are likely to become integral parts of public spaces: necessities rather than novelties. The sector therefore has a good chance of making a full recovery – especially if current opportunities to innovate and contribute are fully realised.

‘* excludes last week of March 2021




Inkjet MFP sales through European distribution plunge in April amid a shortage

London, 09 June 2021 – Sales of printers through European distributors fell sharply in April 2021 (by -11.3% year-on-year in terms of units), according to the latest data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

The print industry saw remarkable growth in February (+29%) and March (+10.5%). However, this was a result of the backlog of orders built up during lockdown being fulfilled rather than renewed demand. In the face of a new shortage across the EU, consumer printer sales in April were down on the previous year. Even so, the revenue generated during this month increased by +8.2% year-on-year as individuals purchased more expensive entry-level or mid-range business printers (both inkjet and laser) instead.

April’s overall decline was mainly due to the fall in sales of printers targeted at consumers (-15.1%), particularly those of inkjet multifunction printers (MFPs) which dropped by -12.2% yet still accounted for 81% of consumer sales.

Graph 1: Y/Y change in printer sales volume by target market – European distribution

There were severe shortages of both consumer and entry-level business inkjet MFPs during April, which heavily contributed to the overall decline in sales. Sales of ink-tank printers saw remarkable growth during the pandemic but slowed to a more modest year-on-year increase of +5% in April – not enough to ensure growth in sales of inkjet MFPs overall.

Graph 2: Y/Y change in printer sales volume by ink system – European distribution

News from one of our vendors is that a shortage of components is having a severe impact on their production line: it is now taking about four months to produce new printers rather than the usual four-week average. We believe that most vendors will face the same issue and that this will have serious consequences for the performance of the print sector in the coming months, particularly as remote working and e-schooling continue to increase demand for consumer printers of all types.

We have already seen the effect of component shortages: during April 2021, sales of consumer printers (accounting for 68% of all printer sales) declined by -15.1% year-on-year, mainly due to the negative performance of entry-level consumer devices (priced up to EUR 200 and accounting for 96% of consumer sales), which dropped by -16.6%. This trend continued into early May and has led to a shift in behaviour towards the purchase of the more expensive mid-range inkjet MFPs (EUR 400-800) printers which were still available, and which saw double-digit growth.

The United Kingdom was the only country in the Western Europe (WE) Top 5 economies to see growing sales of inkjet MFPs in April (+13.2%), although this rise is much smaller than the increases seen in February and March. Elsewhere, there was a sharp decline in sales of these models although, as noted above, this was due to a shortage of printers rather than a lack of demand.

 




Enterprise Networking grows significantly in April

London, 12 May 2021 –  After a challenging 2020 and beginning of 2021 for Enterprise Networking affected negatively by the working from home and business closures, European revenues show an impressive growth in April 2021 signalling a return to business as usual, according to the latest data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

Enterprise Networking Y/Y Revenue Growth

The monthly Y/Y revenue growth shows a very much awaited upward trend in terms of sales for the Enterprise Networking segment with April confirming the small positive gains in February and March. Furthermore, when comparing April 2021 revenues with April 2019 revenues, we observe a higher level of revenues with +3.1% for the former and this is telling about this market pandemic recovery state.

April Y/Y revenue growth

All top5 European economies are growing positively, with Southern Europe being the main driver of April 2021 significant gain of revenues compared to April 2020. UK, despite an increase of revenues is still lagging a bit behind its European counterpart. On a side note, Poland, the only country achieving an increase of revenues in 2020 vs 2019 on the Networking space, is declining by -16.4% Y/Y.

April 2021 vs April 2019 revenue growth

When comparing April 2021 versus April 2019 revenues, the country perspective is rather unequal as Italy, France and the UK are still in negative territory in terms of revenue progression. However, Germany achieves an impressive +27.1% revenue gain driving the overall European revenue growth positively. The comparison with 2019 makes sense and gives a perspective about where we are currently in terms of recovery at country level. As previously observed, Poland is growing by more than +38% in April 2021 compared to 2019 and this is mitigating the relatively strong decline we saw previously versus 2020.

Enterprise Networking Y/Y Revenue Growth

The main segments of Enterprise Networking are both enjoying solid performances in April 2021. In April 2020, the wireless segment got hit significantly by strict lockdowns all over Europe and companies having to close down, especially commercial spaces and hospitality businesses. Already in Q1, this segment was growing positively, it is not unexpected to see such a revenue gain in April 2021. The real good news come from the switching segment as it was the one lagging behind for most of 2020 and 2021: This is the most important category in terms of revenues, weighting around 65% of Enterprise Networking revenues, and as a result, the positive performance in April 2021 is a major change in terms of trend. The Switching revenue level last month is higher than the one of April 2019, this is further confirming the healthy start of the Q2 2021.

Switching April Y/Y revenue growth

In this view by country for the switching segment, we observe that most of the countries show a significant revenue increase. However, the UK is still lagging behind, the slower return to the office of the workforce could be partly responsible for this state of affair with a rather strict Lockdown applied there those last few months compare to other countries in Europe.

There is no denying that we are witnessing the end of a rather challenging period as the solid April 2021 performance means that businesses are finally restarting investments on this key infrastructure sector. Furthermore, the significant gain of revenues on the switching segment signals return to the office preparation for the workforce. With vaccination rollout at full speed all over Europe, we are expecting sales of Networking appliances to continue to increase in the coming months. On top of the return to normality, Public investment in Education and health will be major drivers going forward for the Enterprise Networking space.




30 years of 3D Printer Shipments in 30 seconds

30 years of 3D Printer Shipments in 30 seconds

3D Printer Shipments by System Revenues

Top 15 Process & Materials by Quarter

 

The 3D printer market* is often thought of as a single cohesive entity. Yet the reality is much different as you’ll see from this unique high-level view of industry trends over the past three decades. [Full animated graph available here]

ASTM International defines seven core types of additive manufacturing machines (aka 3D printers). Even within these types there are various vendor-specific variants, some of which can process a range of materials. By revenue sales, machines printing polymers (plastics) are most popular, followed by those printing metals.

Printer hardware prices range from a few hundred to millions of dollars. And you’ll also find a huge variety of sizes – with some as small as a PC inkjet printer and others as large as a warehouse.

The aggregate analysis shown here encompasses all of these printer types sorted by new units shipped per quarter multiplied by their system price (aka System Revenues). Using this measure, the rise in revenues of metal 3D printers over the past decade is immediately noticeable.

*Includes period-by-period, non-cumulative, global shipments of new, finished-good printers in all four CONTEXT price-class groupings; PERSONAL (<$2.5K), PROFESSIONAL ($2.5K-$20K), DESIGN ($20K-$100K) and INDUSTRIAL ($100K+). Personal DIY Kits not included.

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