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Desktop Monitor Demand Surges but Supply Pool Dries Up

Dominika Koncewicz, Senior Analyst for Displays at CONTEXT
Dominika Koncewicz, Senior Analyst for Displays at CONTEXT

Sales of monitors through Western Europe’s (WE) distributors grew by a record +35% year-on-year in March 2020 contributing to an overall +18% increase for the first quarter, according to the latest data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

Monitor sales, particularly to business customers, were expected to grow in the first half of 2020 – but not at the scale witnessed in Q1. In the second half of February, after many factories in China had been closed, distributors began to see increased orders as their customers prepared for future product shortages.

Then the lockdown of most European countries in March led to many employees moving to working from their own homes.

This transition resulted in a surge in demand for desktop monitors as well as PCs and computing accessories”, said Dominika Koncewicz, Senior Analyst for Displays at CONTEXT. “School closures also helped drive growth of consumer sales as many parents found they had to share equipment with children suddenly being home-schooled. Moreover, despite the economic turmoil caused by the virus, there is still high demand for monitors from the public sector for, for example, hospitals and government departments. This increased need for display equipment led to sales of both business and consumer-targeted models growing by +18% year-on-year in Q1.

The biggest change in demand was seen in week 12, particularly in the UK and Germany where March sales grew by +66% and +48% year-on-year, respectively. Meanwhile, distributors in France and Italy, whose sales had spiked in the second half of February, saw demand slow down over March resulting in respective year-on-year declines of -15% and -21% for the month. Sales in Spain, however, continued to boom with growth reaching almost +30% in both February and March. With consumer movement restricted, and stores closed by lockdowns, many industries, including IT, have seen a surge in online sales. Total monitor sales to e-tail increased more quickly than those to other channels, and growth for the quarter as a whole was +33%.

While many businesses and individuals have been putting off investing in their digital capabilities and hardware over the past few years, the current crisis has made them aware that better solutions are now urgently needed, leading to a rise in demand for more powerful devices that also enable remote working”, added Dominika.

Demand in Q1 however, was so unexpected and strong that it left many European distributors with very low stock levels.

Combined with the supply disruption that has affected most vendors to a greater or lesser extent, this may lead to weaker sales over the coming weeks and, potentially, having an impact on May sales. However, if demand from both private and public sectors remains high and supplies reach normal levels, we should start to see a recovery by the end of Q2, continuing into Q3”, she added.

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