After 45 years in business Hills Components has ceased trading.
The Watford-based firm described itself as a trade and educational supplier, primarily offering IT hardware and accessories to its clients. It flogged Acer, Dell and Epson gear and hired 20.
It went into liquidation on 13 September, appointing Mercer & Hole accountants on the same day. Apparently the outfit had acquired too much debt and had an inventory of outdated stock.
The e-tailer reported assets of £2 million in its financial 2017, a lot of that stock was outdated and was removed from the company’s catalogue, causing it to sit unsold.
This sort of problem is typical issue for many channel players who become significantly overstocked and the price comes down. The only way to turn the product into cash is to lose money on it.
Acer has appointed Craig Booth as its new UK boss taking over from Preben Fjeld aspired to switch to Lenovo.
Booth joined Acer UK in February last year as director of product marketing, having previously been Lenovo’s consumer head of business management.
An Acer spokesperson said: “Craig has contributed considerably to the stability of Acer business in the UK.
“We are all very pleased that he will now head up the company for 2018 and beyond.”
Acer said that in his new role, Booth will be responsible for “maintaining business momentum and growth across the whole of the UK and Ireland”.
A report said there were large falls in shipments of notebooks in January and February.
Digitise Research said that shipments for the five multinational brands and the top three manufacturers – original design manufacturers – fell by 13 percent and 18 percent in February.
One major reason, the analysts say is because there are high levels of stocks of models intended for home use left over from last year. Fluctuations in exchange rates also caused a decline in sale.
However, it appears that Hewlett Packard managed to buck the trend and in February its notebook shipments rose by 30 percent. It had managed to make adjustments to its overstock and also made significant sales of units for the educational market to India.
Lenovo fell behind HP in the top five, but it was Acer and Asustek which really took a hit, with falls in shipments of as much as 40 percent, Digitimes Research said.
The ODMs, who make notebooks to be rebranded by others, also saw their shipments fall during the period.
Only 221.4 million tablets will ship worldwide this year – a drop of 11.9 percent compared to 2014.
That’s according to Digitimes Research (DR), which predicts that Apple will continue to take the lead, managing to ship over 54 million units this year. While this sounds healthy, that’s a predicted decline of 16/6 percent.
The so-called “white box” market will see the biggest decline, with a drop of 20 percent. Margins on these products are super slim.
DR gives estimates for the different vendors’ shares of the market – with Apple accounting for 24.5 percent, Samsung 16.3 percent, Lenovo 5.3 percent, Asustek 4.2 percent, Google 1.7 percent, Acer 1.7 percent, and Amazon only 1.6 percent.
Meanwhile, a report in Chinese language Economic Daily News said that Amazon has cut orders of tablets, sourced by Compal and Quanta by as much as 30 percent.
Compaq has the lion’s share of Amazon tablet business, churning out 80 percent of them compared to Quanta’s 20 percent, the Economic Daily News said.
to be the market leader for tablets in 2014 but it, in common with other vendors, showed a drop in sales.
A report from Trendforce said that the tablet industry has no reached the maturity point with shipments globally totalling 192 million units. That’s a fall of 2.2 percent compared to 2013.
Apple fared rather worse, it shipped 63.4 million units, a drop of 13.6 percent.
Number two in the pack was Samsung, but its shipments at 41 million units dropped only 2.5 percent.
Lenovo beat Amazon to take third place, and now has 5.6 percent market share.
Both Amazon and Google trailed behind, and Microsoft hasn’t really hit the numbers with its Surface Pro 3.
Some analysts believe that not only has the market reached maturity, but it’s hard to persuade people to upgrade. Others think that tablets are being squeezed on the one hand by larger screen size smartphones and others by low cost notebook PCs.
While there were shortages
of monitor panels last year that caused only 133.6 million units to ship, some vendors have done better than expected.
Those are vendors that bundle monitors with desktops, according to research outfit WitsView.
And Dell is one those that does just that. Replacements for Windows XP had a knock off effect that put Dell on top with a market share of 15.8 percent worldwide.
Another PC manufacturer, Lenovo, also had a boost from the enterprise market and had 9.7 percent market share.
The top 10 vendors are Dell, Philips, Samsung, HP, LGE, Lenovo, Acer, Asus, Viewsonic and Benq,
Philips had a particularly good year in China.
Samsung, which was top vendor for four clear years, only managed to make it to number three with 11.9 percent market share.
HP had 10.7 percent commercial monitor market share, so it’s breathing down Samsung’s neck.
Things went better for
the notebook industry last year, according to a report from Taiwanese research house Trendforce.
That was largely due to people replacing Windows XP systems and the market itself promoting low priced notebooks.
The survey said shipments of notebooks in 2014 hit 175.5 million, a year n year growth of 3.6 percent.
The leader in the X86 pack was HP, followed by Lenovo, Dell, Asus and Acer.
But the real stellar performer in 2014 was Apple, because it lowered some prices. It showed year on year growth of 46.4 percent, and increased its market share to 9.3 percent.
Here, according to Trendforce, are the top runners and riders in the notebook race.
Sales of PCs
in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) grew by two percent in the fourth quarter of last year.
Although that’s hardly a stellar figure, Western Europe showed better results with growth of 10.7 percent.
In all, shipments amounted to 93.3 million units.
IDC’s report said that the market grew because of healthier shipments to ordinary people in the quarter, with vendors stocking up for Christmas and January sales.
Next month, there will be Microsoft promotions which will bring prices down on notebooks with less than 15-inch screens.
HP, and Lenovo dominated the market place, with shares of 23.3 percent and 19.6 percent respectively.
Dell has 9.8 percent share in EMEA, followed by Acer, Asus and “others”.
Sales of notebooks
during the fourth quarter of 2014 amounted to 46 million units.
That’s according to Digitimes Research, which said in a report that shipments were flat compared to the same quarter in 2013.
Of the notebooks shipped, Taiwanese original design manufacturers (ODMs) shipped 36.6 million, representing nearly 80 percent of the total marketplace.
ODMs make notebooks which are then rebranded by multinationals or sold as so called “white boxes”.
The chief ODMs were Quanta with 33 percent, Compal with 31.4 percent, Wistron with 15.8 percent, Inventec with 7.5 percent and Pegatron with 6.9 percent.
Digitimes Research said HP was the number one vendor in the quarter with 23 percent market share, Lenovo second, Dell third, Asustek fourth, Acer fifth, Apple sixth, Toshiba seventh, Samsung eighth and Fujitsu ninth.
Shipments of PCs
during any fourth quarter used to be strong until two years ago.
But figures released by Gartner said that worldwide PC shipments grew by a miserly one percent during the last quarter of 2014.
Shipments amounted to 83.7 million units and analysts at the company think the results are a “slow but consistent improvement after two years of decline”.
Tablets had been responsible for displacing PCs but that peaked in 2013 and the first half of last year.
People are drifting back to PCs, said Gartner, although different regions showed different results.
The US market showed the highest growth and the European region was strong too.
Lenovo is now the worldwide leader in shipments with 19.4 percent of the market, followed by HP and Dell. Acer and Asus were fourth and fifth.
HP showed growth of 16 percent in the quarter, while Lenovo’s growth slowed.
The chief driver for sales were mobile PCs including thin and light. Prices around the $300 mark helped boost sales.
Despite evidence that sales of tablets showed signs of decline in 2014, one market intelligence is bucking the trend by predicting healthy sales in 2015.
ABI Research said that although 2014 was “lacklustre”, it predicted that there will be solid growth during the next five years with shipments of tablets close to 290 million units in 2019.
But the growth is not for every vendor – Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Google will show year on year falls in shipments.
On the other hand, Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG, Microsoft and Samsung are predicted to show higher volumes in 2014.
Senior analyst Jeff Orr doesn’t have good news for Apple. He said: “Historically, Apple has counted approximately 35 percent of its iPad sales in the last calendar quarter of the year. Unless Apple can pull off a 32+ million unit quarter, sales for 2014 will be down for the first year since the iPad launched.”
He said that Apple probably shipped 68 million iPads in 2014, but managed to sell 74 million in 2013.
On the operating systems front, Android has 54 percent of branded tablets, Apple iOS has fallen to 41 percent, and Windows 8 has a meagre five percent of shipments.
Strong orders from both the enterprise and from the retail market meant growth in notebook sales during the month of November, largely due to HP’s position in the market.
That’s according to data from Digitimes Research which claims the top five multinational vendor and Taiwanese original design manufacturers (ODMs) showed shipments growing by 10 percent in the month, following a decline in shipments in October.
All the vendors are attempting to stem the growth of tablets and smartphones and the research outfit claimed HP ordered four million notebooks from its ODM partners in the month – with Quanta, Compal, and Investec benefiting from the push by the US giant.
The researchers claim that shipments of global tablets will be in stasis for 2014, when all the figures are added up. And it also predicts sales will decline in 2015.
Digitimes Research estimates that combined shipments of notebooks and tablets will be over 350 million units in 2015 but the major vendors incuding Apple, Lenovo, Samsung, HP, Asustek, Dell and Acer will take steps to secure their positions in the marketplace.
A report said that during the third quarter of 2014, shipments of tablets worldwide amounted to 63.4 million unit only one percent up from the same quarter last year.
And the impetus for Apple iPads flatlined during the third quarter, largely affected by delays in shipments, according to Digitimes Research.
White box tablets only amounted to 26.2 million during the third quarter and that’s even after Intel subsidies in an attempt to boost market share.
Samsung is the second biggest supplier but the research suggests it will take a cautious approach to shipments during 2015.
The other biggest vendors for tablets are Asustek, Lenovo, Acer, Amazon and Dell.
Most analysts say that the tablet market is close to saturation in Western Europe and in North America – and there are few compelling reasons for people to upgrade from their existing models.
The success of Chromebooks has forced Microsoft to drop its licensing fees on Windows 8.1 notebooks, in a move that is forcing down prices on the products and is good news for buyers.
According to financial analysts at Seeking Alpha, Samsung has decided to use an X86 processor for its Chromebook 2 – a win for Intel in the X86 stakes.
HP and Acer are already selling Windows 8.1 notebooks for less than $200 and that is likely to create something of a frenzy in the run up to the holiday period.
Seeking Alpha points out that Intel’s mobile chip unit posted an $1.04 billion operating loss for its financial third quarter, despite selling chips for 15 million tablets during that quarter.
Intel is attempting to make “significant reductions in contra revenues next year”, but the financial analysts say X86 mobile chips will carry on losing money.
Samsung has dropped using ARM based processors for its Chromebook in favour of Intel, but the bad news is that most market research shows that sales of tablets are slowing, particularly in mature markets.
Seeking Alpha said: “Intel is losing big money in its quest to sell 40 million tablet chips this year.”
Notebooks using the conventional Wintel model seem to be past history, but Chromebooks are selling like there’s no tomorrow.
That’s the conclusion of research by ABI Research, which said that shipments of Chromebooks soared by 67 percent in a quarter.
Acer is the top dog in the sector, followed by Samsung and HP – those three accounted for 74 percent of shipment share during the first half of this year. That isn’t going to change in the second half of this year, said ABI.
So-called vertical markets like schools are a driving force, and Chromebooks also sell well in emerging markets. But ABI said that North America will account for 78 percent of the Chromebook market and other regions such as Asia Pacific and Western Europe are set to grow shipment market share over the next five years.
Stephanie Van Vactor, an analyst at ABI, said that while Chromebooks might be a temporary fad like the netbook, but the price and design mean that it’s attractive to the world+dog.
“People are hungry for a product that is cost effective but also provide the versatility and functionality of a laptop,” she said.