4Q’14 Electronic Supply Chain Growth by Sector
Although a number of companies in our survey have not yet reported their 4Q’14 financial results, here is a preliminary estimate of 2014 fourth quarter growth by sector of the world electronic supply chain:
- Global electronic equipment growth slowed to +0.2% in 4Q’14 versus 4Q’13 however its sequential growth was +7.8% from 3Q’14 (Chart 1).
- Chart 2 shows the historical changes in world electronic equipment quarterly growth from 2001 through 2014.
- Global electronic equipment growth peaked in 2Q’14 (Chart 3).
- Quarterly sales by electronic equipment sector are given in Chart 4. Telecom/datacom was the strongest sector in the fourth quarter.
- The ratio of inventories/sales declined for electronic equipment OEMs, component distributors and EMS companies but rose for semiconductor manufacturers (Chart 5).
- Chart 6 provides a preliminary summary of 4Q’14 growth by sector of the global electronic supply chain. We will update this chart on an ongoing basis until all companies in our survey finally report their 4Q’14 financials.
Source: Custer Consulting Group based on company financial reports
December U.S. Electronics Growth
The December domestic “Durable Goods” report was just released:
- The electronic equipment book/bill ratio held above 1.05 (Chart 7).
- Both electronic equipment order and shipment 4Q’14/4Q’13 (3/12) growth increased slightly (Chart 8). Both remained in positive growth territory (3/12>1.0).
- On a monthly sales basis electronic equipment orders dropped slightly in December from November while shipments were flat (Chart 9).
- Electronic equipment inventories relative to sales increased (Chart 10).
- Aircraft and parts shipments rose sequentially from November (Chart 11) but orders declined (Chart 12).
- Communication equipment orders were flat (Chart 13) but computer orders declined (Chart 14).
More details on December electronic equipment and component shipments, orders and inventories will be provided in this week’s U.S. “Factory Orders” report.
North American PCB Orders and Shipments
IPC just released its North American printed circuit board order and shipment results for December:
- The 3-month average book/bill ratio rose to 1.07 (Chart 15).
- Order growth may have peaked in the mid-teens (Chart 16).
- On a longer term basis sales and orders have been relatively flat with shipments down 0.8% in total 2014 vs. total 2013 (Chart 17).
North American SEMI Equipment: $1.37 billion in orders in December and Book/Bill = 0.98 (Charts 18 & 19)
North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted $1.37 billion in orders worldwide in December 2014 (3-month average basis) and a book-to-bill ratio of 0.98, according to SEMI.
The 3-month average of worldwide bookings in December 2014 was $1.37 billion, 12.3% higher than November 2014 and 1.1% lower than December 2013.
The 3-month average of worldwide billings in December 2014 was $1.39 billion, 17.0% higher than November 2014 and 3.1% higher than December 2013.
"While three-month averages for both bookings and billings increased, billings outpaced bookings slightly, nudging the book-to-bill ratio slightly below parity," said SEMI president and CEO Denny McGuirk. "2015 equipment spending is forecast to remain on track for annual growth given the current expectations for the overall semiconductor industry."
Global Smartphone Shipments in 2014 Totaled 1.167B with Samsung and Apple as First and Second (Charts 20 & 21)
Global smartphone shipments totaled 1.167 billion units in 2014, a year-on-year increase of 25.9%, with combined shipments of Chinese brands reaching 453.4 million units. Chinese vendors thus managed to encompass almost 40% of the global shipments and represent six of the top ten smartphone brands worldwide. “2014 was definitely an impressive year for Chinese brands as they gained more share of the global market,” said Avril Wu, global smartphone analyst of TrendForce. Even so, Wu noted that the pooled shipments of numerous Chinese brands were still less than the combined shipments of the 2014 brand leader, Samsung, and the second best, Apple. Their shipments together accounted for 518 million units. “This shows that the fierce competition among the brands relatively and severely narrowed their profit margins,” said Wu.
2014 was a difficult year for Samsung as its market share dropped to 28% compared with 32.5% of the previous year. Nonetheless, Samsung retained its number one position. According to Wu, Samsung’s large-size, high-end Galaxy Note series faced stiff challenges from iPhone 6 Plus, while its midlevel and low-end smartphone shipments were undercut by inexpensive Chinese brands. As a result, Samsung’s overall shipment target had undergone downward revisions since the beginning of 2014, with annual growth in shipments only at 8.4% (around 326.4 million units).
In 2014, Apple maintained its high annual growth rate of 24.5%, which translates to 191.3 million units shipped worldwide for the entire year. With 16.4% market share, Apple was a solid number two in the worldwide smartphone rankings. Apple’s position was attributed to the success of its first large-size smartphone model, the iPhone 6 Plus. This new category addressed Apple’s lack of smartphones with above 5″ screens and thus significantly raised the fourth quarter shipping ratio.