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CONTEXT Research Updates deliver timely insights on key market segments.

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

PC Research update


European PC market dynamics unchanged in early 2020: commercial strong, consumer soft

London, 03 March 2020 – The market dynamics that characterised PC sales in 2019 continued into early 2020 as strong demand from commercial buyers offset weaker consumer sales, according to the latest data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

Displays


Covid-19 puts the brakes on slowing WE monitor market

London, 5 March 2020 – The business market drove growth of revenues from desktop monitors in 2019 and has continued to do so in January 2020: revenues from business-targeted monitors grew by +7% year-on-year while those of consumer-targeted monitors were up by +1% according to the latest data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company

Imaging


January print sales not impacted by coronavirus but Q1 and Q2 are at risk

London, 2 March 2020 – There is no clear evidence that print sales in January 2020 have been affected by the coronavirus according to the latest distribution data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company. Print performance could be weaker in Q1 2020, however, and the extent of this depends on how quickly the spread can be contained.

Enterprise


By the end of 2020, no new laptop in Western Europe will be sold with hard disk drive as primary storage

London, 11 February 2020 – The adoption of SSDs for primary storage accelerated during the fourth quarter of 2019 as the volume of HDD PCs – notebooks, desktops and workstations – sold through the Western Europe (WE) IT distribution channel fell to 9.4%, according to the latest data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

3D Printing


Photopolymers and thermoplastics shine in 2019 as installed base of 3D printers grows

Increasing utilisation of photopolymer materials in 2019 was driven by a general rise in the installed base and by specific demand from dental applications while use of powder thermoplastics also grew thanks to strong sales of HP Multi Jet Fusion printers and a general push toward serial production




European PC market dynamics unchanged in early 2020: commercial strong, consumer soft

London, 03 March 2020 – The market dynamics that characterised PC sales in 2019 continued into early 2020 as strong demand from commercial buyers offset weaker consumer sales, according to the latest data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

Volume sales of PCs through Western Europe’s largest distributors were up by +7% year-on-year in January 2020, driven by a +15% growth in sales of commercial PCs. As the business sector continued to invest in new PC hardware during the few weeks before and after the end of Microsoft’s Windows 7 support on 14 January, commercial notebooks sales were up by +5% and those of desktops by +38%. The number of workstations sold also increased: stationary systems by +21.5%, and mobile machines by +11.8%.

On the other hand, sales of consumer PCs remained weak with volumes falling by −4% in January 2020 compared to the same month last year. While there was growth in some areas – AMD-based PCs, ultra-slim portables and Chromebooks sold well – the volume bases in these parts of the market were too small to reverse the negative trend.

Intel processor supply gaps continued to have an impact on PC sales at the start of 2020 and are expected to remain an issue throughout the year. The current coronavirus outbreak is also presenting a challenge to the industry. While disruptions to the PC supply chain are inevitable, the extent of the impact will depend on how soon production levels in China revert to full capacity, and on how quickly the spread of the virus can be contained. In response to the present situation, vendors are expected to ramp up production in facilities outside China where possible, and the  latest CONTEXT data on components suggests that channel players have started to stockpile PC parts while they are still available.

                                 Y/Y PC volume growth: Western European distribution

                            Commercial PC volume sales: Western European distribution




Covid-19 puts the brakes on slowing WE monitor market

London, 5 March 2020 – The business market drove growth of revenues from desktop monitors in 2019 and has continued to do so in January 2020: revenues from business-targeted monitors grew by +7% year-on-year while those of consumer-targeted monitors were up by +1% according to the latest data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

For many vendors, 2019 was a very successful year in terms of desktop monitor sales. As 2020 begins, distributors are seeing consistent growth in demand for business-targeted monitors with sales up +4% year-on-year in January. And, even though this is less than the growth seen in the consumer market (+6%), it is coming from a very strong baseline: in January 2019 sales of business-oriented monitors grew by +12%. Along with greater demand, increased sales in higher price ranges (particularly in the €200–€300 category) have helped to drive revenues in the business segment to +7% year-on-year. Sales of consumer monitors were driven by those in lower price ranges (€100–€150), so revenues here were up by only +1%.

The increased sales of more expensive business monitors were spread across most distribution channels, and sales to corporate resellers grew by over 50%. This was driven by demand for 23.8", 27" and 29" models and those with USB-C ports – 60% of monitors in the €200–€300 price bracket sold to this channel offered this type of connection.

Desktop monitors: Business-targeted models in price range €200-€300, WE distribution.

Initially, after many quarters of growth in Western Europe, sales of desktop monitors were expected to slow down in 2020 with a modest growth in the first half of the year, continuing to benefit from PC refreshes as businesses that have delayed the implementation of Windows 10 make the transition. However, the recent coronavirus outbreak could change that scenario. While vendors may have already secured supplies of panels and other components for Q1, the impact of factory closures and production delays could be felt as early as Q2. The resultant product shortages in Q2 could lead to a pick-up in demand in the Q3 and price rises that have the potential to make H2 the stronger part of the year.

Despite production turbulence, vendors are aiming to keep revenues high by launching more innovative models and creating their own high-margin niches by focussing on, for example, models with high-resolution or refresh rates, improved ergonomics or touchscreens, or aiming models with advanced graphics capabilities at not just gamers but also users of other specialised applications.




January print sales not impacted by coronavirus but Q1 and Q2 are at risk

London, 2 March 2020 – There is no clear evidence that print sales in January 2020 have been affected by the coronavirus according to the latest distribution data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company. Print performance could be weaker in Q1 2020, however, and the extent of this depends on how quickly the spread can be contained.

This will also determine whether there will be an impact on one quarter, two quarters or more. We also believe that there will be an impact on component supply, and Q2 shipments are likely to be affected. If it takes longer than the end of March to contain the virus, a bigger impact is expected with production and demand possibly shifting to 2H 2020.

Considering this, vendors might push their customers to bring project-based purchased forward, as waiting could mean that shortages will have a knock-on effect on pricing and customers will then end up paying a premium price.

The ongoing shutdown of operations by China’s major tech manufacturing centres in response to the new coronavirus could have a massive knock-on effect on project fulfillment across WE, and it could, in addition to the disruption caused by the Trade War (between U.S. and China) also have a lasting impact on global supply chains.

The start of Q1 2020 saw printer sales continue to follow the pattern that has characterised the past few quarters, with healthy demand for consumer multi function printers (MFPs), according to the latest distribution data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

However, volume sales of printers through the largest distributors in Western Europe (WE) were down by -2.3% year-on-year in January 2020. Although the consumer segment saw sales increase by +5.8% – mainly driven by good performance from inkjet MFPs (+7.5%) and laser MFPs (which saw exceptional growth of +22.8%) – sales of single-function printers (SFPs) in this market continued to fall sharply (-11.6% for inkjet SFPs, and -23.8% for laser SFPs).

Sales of, and revenues from, consumer inkjet MFPs increased in almost all WE countries during January 2020 with the United Kingdom seeing the strongest growth (+34.7% in terms of units and +20.4% in revenues). In Italy, consumer printer sales also continued to rise (year-on-year increases of +2.9% in units sold and +6.2% in revenues) with most retailers and small resellers benefiting from minimum order sizes and credit lines offered by the Distribution channel.

   Graph 1: Consumer printer volumes and Y/Y change by category – WE distribution 

Looking at the business targeted-customer segment (which account for 34% of printer sales and 67% of revenues in WE), we saw a sharp decline in early Q1 2020. The fall of -14.8%, mainly driven by poor performance of MFPs across almost all countries (sales of both inkjet and laser MFPs were down by -18.5%), led to a drop of -11% in revenues. This trend in MFP sales is likely to change in the coming months, particularly in Italy where the recent award of a government tender/contract for multifunction and Managed Print Services (MPS) for Public Administrations (Regional/Municipal offices) with an overall value of €100 million will push up sales in this category.

Graph 2: Business printer volumes and Y/Y change by category – WE distribution

 

 




By the end of 2020, no new laptop in Western Europe will be sold with hard disk drive as primary storage

London, 11 February 2020 – The adoption of SSDs for primary storage accelerated during the fourth quarter of 2019 as the volume of HDD PCs – notebooks, desktops and workstations – sold through the Western Europe (WE) IT distribution channel fell to 9.4%, according to the latest data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

                       WE PC market share by primary storage type: all PCs

As expected, 93.3% of new laptop PCs sold in Q4 2019 had SSDs as their primary storage component, up from 66.7% at the end of 2017.

                         WE PC market share by primary storage type: laptop PCs

More surprisingly, SSDs are also increasingly being used in desktops with the proportion of new devices using them reaching 82% at the end of 2019, up from 48.5% in 2017.

 

                     WE PC market share by primary storage type: desktop PCs

 

The adoption of SSDs is fastest in Nordics and The Netherlands which had an almost HDD-less PC market by the end of 2019 with the components used in only around 2% of PCs, inclusive of laptop and desktop. Germany follows – there, SSD share of the overall PC market is 93.4% – and the UK completes the podium with only 9.9% of PCs sold in the country in Q4 2019 containing HDDs. The transition is slower in Southern Europe where an average of 85% of PCs sold at the end of 2019 came with SSDs.

The sharp fall in price per gigabyte observed in 2019 is the main driver of accelerating SSD adoption as it enables vendors to sell SSD configurations at competitive prices. Meanwhile, online storage services are getting cheaper, and the use of streaming online services more common, so there is less need for high-capacity local storage. Vendors can therefore sell models with less storage and this, too, is supporting the transition towards SSDs. And, last but not least, the majority of consumers have now experienced the advantages that SSDs bring to day-to-day computer use so are happy to pay a little more for a machine with this type of storage.

Given these trends, it is pretty safe to say that, by the end of 2020, no new laptop sold in WE will have HDD as the primary storage component – and there’s not much doubt the desktop segment will follow closely in 2021.




Photopolymers and thermoplastics shine in 2019 as installed base of 3D printers grows

London, 13 February 2020 –The Industrial/Professional printer market (that is, for all printers above $5,000), has seen a +8% rise in polymer material utilisation over the last twelve months. Within polymers, photopolymers have seen the most significant near-term growth with volume used and revenues generated from use both seeing growth of +21% over the trailing twelve months (TTM) through to Q3 2019. For thermoplastics, although the overall increase in utilisation was up only +6% for the period, the powder-based side of this market saw good growth thanks mostly to a rising installed base of HP multi-jet fusion machines across the globe.

Charts 1 and 2: Global material utilisation by Industrial/Professional printers Trailing-Twelve-Months (TTM)

For Photopolymers, while there is an underlying increase in material utilisation as the market shifts from one principally focused on prototyping to one where mass production is also a key usage, near-term increases in material sales were more the result of a growing base of installed printers for traditional 3D printing uses. One such market which has traditionally embraced 3D printing for its unique ability of mass customization (that is, tweaks to each individual product manufactured) is dentistry. Photopolymer utilisation for this historically strong dental sub-sectors was particularly strong in the TTM to the end of Q3 2019, seeing a +29% increase in throughput. Increased photopolymer utilisation was also supported just in general by the accelerating installation of vat photopolymerisation printers in the TTM to Q3 2019 which were up +28% from a year before.  Strong sales of all price-classes* of Industrial/Professional stereolithography printers from the likes of 3D Systems, EnvisionTEC, UnionTech and Carbon were seen, helping to grow the installed base. Overall shipments of stereolithography printers – laser based, LCD, DLS/CLIP and especially those leveraging DLP engines – outpaced the retirement rate of legacy printers in the field, leading to a larger operational base of Industrial/Professional printers which resulted in accelerated material usage.

Chart 3: Global Industrial/Professional printers installed by primary material/process

 

The thermoplastics market is even larger than the Industrial/Professional photopolymer market. This part of the 3D printing polymers space is dominated by material extrusion machines but recent growth in material utilisation is linked to powder bed fusion (PBF) technologies. The period Q4 2018 to Q3 2019 saw a huge increase of +41% in the number of polymer PBF printers installed, driven by growing sales of HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology. HP offers both Industrial* price-class printers, for mass production, and Design* price-class printers, mainly for more typical 3D printing applications like prototyping and short-run production.

* 3D printer segment by price class: INDUSTRIAL ≥ $100K, DESIGN = $20K–$100K, PROFESSIONAL = $2.5K–$20K, PERSONAL ≤ $2.5K (excludes do-it-yourself DIY kit printers)

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