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Desktop 3D Printer market grows slowly while industrial sales stall

Growth in the Desktop/Personal segment of the 3D printer market continued in Q2 2015, while the Industrial/Professional segment stalled, according to CONTEXT, the IT market analysis company. Key indicators suggest that, in the short term, demand for desktop printers will continue to be strong while that in the Industrial/Professional sector is less quantifiable.

"The nascent market of Desktop/Personal 3D Printers continues to change and evolve each quarter" notes Chris Connery, VP for Global Research at CONTEXT. "In the current landscape, shipments from the best known brands are not the best leading indicator of total global demand. However, customers voting with their dollars by backing crowdsourced efforts and maturing global distribution are."

Desktop/Personal 3D Printer Market

The number of Desktop/Personal 3D printers shipped worldwide Q2 2015 was 25% more than in Q2 2014. While this seems strong, over the previous four quarters unit shipments had risen by over 90% year-on-year. Q2 2015 marked the first ever sequential decline in unit shipments in this category. As in the previous quarter, much of the growth came by way of new players rather than from familiar brands. Market shares therefore continue to shift significantly from quarter to quarter, although Taiwan's XYZPrinting has been the most resilient recently and has now regained the global number one position.

China's Shining3D is the latest to show strong quarterly performance, with a large one-time shipment for Autodesk Asia PTE moving them from sixteenth in Q1 2015 to second globally in Q2 2015. High-profile market stalwarts Stratasys (MakerBot) and 3D Systems (Cube/Cubify) receive the most industry attention, but both brands struggled in this period and neither was responsible for the recent increase in unit shipments of sub-€4.5K 3D printers.

That there is continuing market demand for such devices is demonstrated by the largest crowdfunded unit volume sales seen to date for the Desktop/Personal printer segment. In this quarter, TIKO successfully raised almost €2.7M against over 16,000 units of its low-priced €159 delta-style 3D printer. These are scheduled to ship later this year and into 2016, suggesting that there are further share shifts on the horizon.

Other successfully funded crowdsourcing initiatives set for shipment in 2015 include BoXYZ’s €1,249 printer, which received over €1M in funding for 430+ printers, and the FLUX all-in-one €449 printer which raised over €1.44M for 2,300+ units. While many Kickstarter efforts are notoriously late to deliver, these pre-orders are still a good indicator of strong demand.

Industrial/Professional 3D Printer Market

While global shipments and demand on the Desktop/Personal side of the business remains strong, printer shipments on the Industrial/Professional side of the Additive Manufacturing sector continued to be challenged. Stratasys and 3D Systems are responsible for a significant portion of global unit sales and revenues in this segment, and both have again reported disappointing results in Q2 2015. This slowing down is seen as a short-term phenomenon with many noting that demand still remains strong. Indications are that many end-users are awaiting the entrance of players such as HP which announced its Multi Jet Fusion technology in 2014 although the first shipments are not due to come from the soon-to-be-split company until 2016. Additional reasons for the recent downturn are the "over-hyping" of the technology in recent years, followed by increased printer sales: the industry now needs to absorb this capacity before making further capital investments.

Overall Outlook

If these trends continue, then the Desktop/Personal segment is on track for a year-on-year unit growth rate of over 50% for 2014/2015, while the Industrial/Professional segment may only see single digit growth rates. It looks as if regional shipments will continue to be strongest in North America, especially in the Desktop/Personal segment. With an increased number of shipments scheduled for the AP region, some regional share-shift could occur in the near term, however. Additionally, the EMEA region also looks poised for growth with announcements of new or expanded B2B and B2C distribution for from the likes of ABC Data, Exertis, MediaWorld (Italy), Midwich, Pico and others.

ScanSource announces new management structure for business in Europe

Multispecialist ScanSource has enhanced its management structure for its Communications and POS and Barcode business units in Europe to further support the growth of the Company, while also leveraging the strengths of its executive leadership. Ian Vickerage has been named President of ScanSource Communications, Europe, where he will lead all of ScanSource's Communications operations throughout Europe (namely in Belgium, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Mr. Vickerage previously served as Managing Director of Imago, a video and voice communications VAD which he founded and ScanSource acquired in 2014. Mr. Vickerage also serves as Managing Director of Imago ScanSource. Rudy De Meirsman will continue as Managing Director of ScanSource Communications. Mr. De Meirsman has served as Managing Director since 2013 and will continue to lead the strategic direction of the Communications business throughout Europe.

"We are very excited to be able to build on the successful acquisition of Imago, as it enables us to realign our business and better focus our efforts, so that we can best serve our reseller customers and vendor partners," said Mike Ferney, president, Worldwide Communications and Services, ScanSource, Inc. "The dedicated leadership, sales, merchandising, and technical support teams in each region underscores our commitment to our partners' success."

Maurice Van Rijn has been named President of ScanSource POS and Barcode, Europe (namely, for Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom, where he will continue to provide strategic leadership to the Company's pan-European POS and Barcode business. Mr. Van Rijn has been with ScanSource since 2002 and most recently served as Managing Director of ScanSource POS and Barcode in Europe. Prior to that, he served as Sales Director for the Company. Mr. Van Rijn has been instrumental to the continued growth of the Company throughout Europe.

"Maurice has been with ScanSource since we entered Europe in 2002 and has played an important role in helping ScanSource to become the leading point-of-sale and barcode distributor in the region," said Buck Baker, president, Worldwide Barcode and Security. "He knows the market and our industry and will serve ScanSource well as we continue to grow and look to help our resellers uncover new opportunities."

Looks count when buying tech products

In anticipation of a number of new technology gadgets being launched this summer, GfK has released international findings on how important the look and style of a technology product is to consumers, in deciding which one to buy. Across all 22 countries surveyed, one in three consumers (33%) firmly agree that look and style is very important, compared to less than one in ten (nine percent) who firmly disagree – and this balance is exactly the same for both men and women. The looks and style of technology products are most important to those aged 20-29, with 37 percent in strong agreement that looks matter in choosing which product to buy - and only five percent strongly against. They are closely followed by 30-39 year olds (36 percent and 6 percent respectively) and then teenagers (those aged 15-19) who stand at 34 percent and 11 percent respectively. For those aged 50 and over, the looks and style of technology products become comparatively far less important in the purchase decision, with strong agreement dropping to just under a quarter (23 percent). More particularly, technology product manufacturers should avoid presenting anything but good looking devices to consumers in Turkey, Mexico and Brazil. These countries come top of all 22 markets for "looks appeal", with close to half of their consumers agreeing that the look and style of a technology product is very important in deciding which one to buy (Turkey 49 percent, Mexico 48 percent and Brazil 45 percent) - including around a quarter in each country who say they "agree completely" (Turkey 26%, Mexico 23% and Brazil 25%). In contrast, Sweden, Belgium and Germany hold the highest percentage of consumers who actively disagree that the look and style of a tech product is important in choosing which one to buy. Sweden leads the way on this, with a quarter (26%) firmly disagreeing with the idea, followed by Belgium (22 percent) and Germany (20%). Delving deeper in those numbers, we find that they include one in ten consumers in each country who go so far as to say they "don't agree at all" (Sweden 14%, Belgium and Germany both 10%). Arndt Polifke, GfK's global director for telecommunications, comments, "These findings give our clients the big picture on what different markets and demographics are focusing on, in selecting technology products to buy. For example – which markets will favor a smartphone that's stylish to look at, over other aspects? When we add in the granular detail delivered by our point of sales data, showing how well specific products are selling in each market and at what price, this produces truly robust and trusted market insight – material that our clients rely on to build their market strategy."

Windows 10 PCs trickle through Europe's IT Distributors

According to ICT channel sales and price tracking organisation Context, PC Devices pre-installed with Windows 10 are still only trickling through Western Europe's IT distributors in week one after the operating system's release. Following the launch week where around 150 unit sales (!!!) of Windows 10 Home based notebooks were recorded, a similar number have appeared in the channel in the first week after launch. In the lead up to the release of the new OS, Microsoft's publicity spoke of a phased adoption with an initial upgrade phase to be followed by another, going into the fourth quarter, when OEMs are expected to bring out more Windows 10 devices. The decision to delay the release of the OS to OEMs and to offer consumers a free upgrade means that the range of such systems is much smaller than that which accompanied the launch of most earlier versions of windows. In 2007, Vista was pre-installed on 57% of new Windows Home PCs sold by distributors in the first week after release, while Windows 7 made it to a 61% consumer share and Windows 8 to 58% in comparable weeks in 2009 and 2012. Adoption of the Business version of all of Windows 10's predecessors was slower, although Windows 7 was preloaded on 10.2% of Windows business PCs in the week following that of its 2009 release.

EET Europarts acquires Barex

Danish broadliner and sparepart specialist EET Europarts continues its expansion with the acquisition of the Norwegian AIDC specialist Barex Distribution. CEO at EET Group, John Thomas says "We have been successfully growing the POS & Auto ID business in recent years, and we have expanded our product range significantly. The acquisition of Barex Distribution AS will strengthen our position within the business area of POS & Auto ID equipment even more, and add new competences and well-known brands to our portfolio. This acquisition shall be seen in the light of our determined strategy of becoming one of the leading POS & Auto ID distributors in the European market before 2020. And we are confident that the product portfolio and the highly skilled organization within Barex Distribution AS will be an important factor in that process."

As part of the acquisition, EET Europarts will take over a strong team of experienced and highly skilled employees from Barex Distribution AS.

General Manager at Barex Distribution AS, Lars Peter Dahl is very pleased with the acquisition. He says "We really look forward to become part of a large and professional company like EET Europarts. Seeing how successful EET Europarts has been growing their business areas, I feel very confident. I believe the impact of EET Europarts´ unique and efficient distribution model in combination with the products, knowhow and competences from Barex, will bring substantial growth to the POS & Auto ID business."

The acquisition of Barex Distribution AS is the third acquisition made by EET Europarts this year.

To the question whether more acquisitions should be expected, Group CEO John Thomas replies "We have historically been very successful in our acquisitions and demonstrated, that we are able to develop and grow acquired business activities significantly with our expertise, our unique e-trade platform, our state-of-the-art logistics set-up and our wide distribution network throughout Europe and Africa. Therefore we have included acquisitions as an important part of our growth strategy also going forward. We expect to complete 4 to 5 acquisitions on an annual basis, so I reckon we close another transaction or two before the year end.".

The Swedish Barex is not covered by the acquisition.


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