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Monitor Demand Remains Strong as Supply Begins to Recover

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

Sales of monitors through distributors in Western Europe (WE) grew +14% year-on-year in the part of the second quarter of 2020 up to the first three weeks of June, according to the latest data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

Strong consumer demand drove the increase as, under lockdown, individuals have been buying monitors for home offices, study environments, and gaming and leisure setups”, said Dominika Koncewicz, Senior Analyst for Displays at CONTEXT.

Sales of consumer monitors have therefore soared: they were up +29% year-on-year in April, +39% in May and +43% in June. Sales of business monitors were below the 2019 level at the start of the quarter. However, this improved in the first three weeks of June (W23–25) when sales – primarily to small, medium and corporate resellers – were up +14% on last year.

Even while business-targeted monitors were struggling, distributors continued to work with their business-focused partners, sometimes selling them models usually aimed at consumers. Although this suggests that a monitor’s specifications and price bracket matter more to customers than whether it has been designated a business or consumer device, some of the shift was probably the result of limited supply”, added Dominika.

Strong demand in the second quarter coincided with low supply for many vendors as a result of the factory closures earlier in the year. In countries where demand was continuously very high, such as the UK, stock levels were down to only one or two weeks’ worth. This did not, however, have an adverse effect on the quarter’s results.

The same strong demand was seen across several of the major WE countries – Germany, Spain, and the UK – despite earlier concerns that the pandemic would soften spending. While unit sales for April and May were down year-on-year in France and Italy, there was a turnaround in June when both these countries showed strong year-on-year gains. Sales of cheaper monitors, particularly those retailing at less than 100 euro, helped the recovery. Indeed, there were growing sales of these lower-end models across WE, particularly to corporate resellers (+33% year-on-year). Sales to retail chains and business etailers also improved.

Supply is expected to reach normal levels during Q3, and vendors should be able to respond to any extra demand from businesses that feel they can renew equipment for staff returning to offices as lockdowns ease.

The coming quarter is traditionally weak because of holidays and, even though there will be less travelling this year, it would be unwise to be optimistic about the coming months. Vendors and distributors are also concerned about the extent to which demand may have peaked in the first and second quarters of 2020, affecting the second half of the year. There is much still to learn about the pandemic and what it means for people and their material needs”, concluded Dominika.

Volume year-on-year growth by country up to W25 (minus the last 9 days of June)

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