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CONTEXT Research Updates deliver timely insights on key market segments.

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

PC Research update


Normal PC market conditions to return

London, 17 August 2022 – The number of PCs sold declined almost −14% year-on-year in Q2 2022 with sales of mobile computing devices, notebooks, workstations and tablets slumping by −15% and those of desktops by −7%. Despite this, revenue held up well, falling by only −4% which is towards the optimistic end of the range predicted by 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


Printer sales surge in Q4 2022 due to promotions and solid business demand

London, 03 February 2023 – Sales through European distributors of printer hardware increased in Q4 2022, with both volumes and revenues exceeding expectations, according to CONTEXT, the global IT market intelligence company.


Enterprise


Enterprise server and networking revenues strong in Q3

London, 06 September 2022 – Enterprise server and networking revenues from sales through distributors grew strongly in weeks 29–32 this year, and were above both 2020 and 2021 figures, according to CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.


3D Printing


Quarterly 3D Printer Revenues Rise, Unit Shipments Slow as Worldwide Markets React to Inflation

Rising prices, divestures and currency fluctuations complicate additive manufacturing industry growth expectations

LONDON, 12 January 2023 – Aggregate 3D Printer unit shipments dropped by -4% during the third quarter of 20221, while systems revenues across the same time period rose by +14%, according to CONTEXT, the market intelligence firm.




Normal PC market conditions to return

London, 17 August 2022 – The number of PCs sold declined almost −14% year-on-year in Q2 2022 with sales of mobile computing devices, notebooks, workstations and tablets slumping by −15% and those of desktops by −7%. Despite this, revenue held up well, falling by only −4% which is towards the optimistic end of the range predicted by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

The latest CONTEXT Forecasting Report predicts that sales will continue to drop as spending on mobile devices returns to normal after the pandemic and the geopolitical situation continues to have an impact. CONTEXT expects education and consumer demand to be significantly lower than last year, which matters because education was particularly strong in 2021. Business sales will also suffer but to a smaller extent. While supply has greatly improved over the first half of this year – and will continue to do so – it is not expected to recover fully.

CONTEXT notes an excess of entry-level stock in the business and consumer markets so expects distributors to reduce prices to try and move stock out, as they did at the end of Q2. At the same time, there are still product gaps at the high end of the business market – thanks to missing components and logistics difficulties – which are making planning difficult and uncertain for many companies.

Even so, the assumption is that growth in the second half of this year will be better than in the first half because of an easier year-on-year comparison and the fact that at least some excess stock will be sold out. 

Pessimistic scenario

Confidence and demand are low and mobile computing stock levels remain high, making sell-through harder. There are only isolated pockets of growth and any investment goes to mobile, rather than desktop computing.

Optimistic scenario

Demand improves as offices reopen, although it remains susceptible to pricing of mobile computing devices. Supply at the high end of this market segment improves and momentum builds as desktop installations are refreshed.




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.




Printer sales surge in Q4 2022 due to promotions and solid business demand

London, 03 February 2023 – Sales through European distributors of printer hardware increased in Q4 2022, with both volumes and revenues exceeding expectations, according to CONTEXT, the global IT market intelligence company.

CONTEXT data revealed a 12.3% year-on-year (YoY) increase in unit sales and a 27.8% increase in revenue during the period thanks, in part, to aggressive promotions designed to clear entry-level stock and strong business demand for higher-end devices. These factors helped the market perform significantly better than CONTEXT’s most optimistic scenario for the quarter.

 

Revenue on the rise

Poor market performance in 2021 means the comparatives are favourable, but the product mix has changed over the last year. In Q4 2022 there was more emphasis on high-end consumer printers and mid- and high-end business devices – particularly expensive multi-function laser printers – than in 2021. Alongside price increases for mid- and high-end consumer and commercial products, these factors are largely responsible for the growth in revenues, which has been strong since Week 38. There has been something of a slowdown since Week 52, although both markets are still some way above the revenue trend index baseline.

Small and medium resellers had a strong end to 2022, and this continued into the first week of 2023, driven by business sales across public and private sectors as well as the price rises. We have seen a steady growth in the e-tailer channel since Week 40, highlighting the resurgence of consumer spend. Distributors have also worked hard, using promotions to shift entry-level stock.

 

Consumables in decline

By contrast, the consumables market declined significantly in Q4: down 18.2 YoY % in unit sales and 11.4% in revenues. That is far worse than CONTEXT’s pessimistic outlook of falls of 9.8% and 6.7%, respectively. A decrease in sales of the ink cartridges that make up over 80% of consumable sales in the region was the main reason but toner sales also fell sharply. Refillable ink bottles are gaining market share and interest in these can only increase throughout 2023 and beyond as they are more economical for consumers and will therefore appeal at a time of higher living costs. Subscription models are becoming more prominent, and since their primary route to market is direct, their value is not captured in distribution channel data.

The average number of pages printed also fell sharply in December (by 12% YoY) despite the return to the office. With paperless policies proliferating in the public and private sectors, this fall is likely to continue

 

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Enterprise server and networking revenues strong in Q3

London, 06 September 2022 – Enterprise server and networking revenues from sales through distributors grew strongly in weeks 29–32 this year, and were above both 2020 and 2021 figures, according to CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

The latest CONTEXT Revenue Trend Index (RTI) shows how various categories fare against their average four-week revenue in 2021. This baseline value is assigned a value of 100.

By this measure, enterprise networking is clearly out in front, with an index score of over 140, and servers follow with 115. Uninterrupted Power Supply “UPS” sits just above the baseline, while storage and security are just beneath it. Consumer networking revenues are some way below the 2021 average with a score of around 80.

It is clear from the Revenue Trend Index (RTI) that server and storage revenues have, to a large extent, followed the trendlines of the previous two years. However, networking has bucked the trend and revenues have been rising rapidly since around Week 25.

Despite the recent poor performance of storage, combined revenues from enterprise categories (excluding security) increased across most of the top five European markets and some smaller countries. UK and Ireland was a notable exception.

Focus on servers and networking

Revenues from both server hardware and server software have grown +11% year-on-year. Even though unit sales declined by −15%, things are beginning to improve after a tough two and a half year decline. 

Server revenues for the entire first half of 2022 were generally higher than in 2021, with France the only top-five country seeing a year-on-year decrease. However, unit sales declined significantly in Germany, France and Italy – only Spain managed to increase them.

Enterprise networking has no such issues: recent growth has been large and sustained. The +35% year-on-year increase during Weeks 29–32 was driven by wireless revenues, which grew by 50%. This category has been performing well since December 2021 as businesses across Western Europe move to Wi-Fi 6.




Quarterly 3D Printer Revenues Rise, Unit Shipments Slow as Worldwide Markets React to Inflation

full content in research-updates/3d_printing page

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