Consumer electronics

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Market analysis

Buyers of electronic components maintained their optimistic outlook in September, as Global Purchasing’s monthly business confidence index rose for the second straight month and hit its highest level since January 2014 . The Global Purchasing Index rose 2% to 118.8 in September, following a 2% increase in August. September represents the highest reading since its launch in January and a 1% increase compared to June’s high of 117.5. The reading indicates growing optimism among North American buyers of electronic components and related items.

Purchasing activity increased 5% in September compared to August, following a 6% rise in August compared to July. The new orders index jumped 10%, after falling 9% in August, the inventories index fell 7% and the prices index fell 5%.1

In contrast, the CEA Index of Consumer Technology Expectations, which measures consumer expectations about technology spending, decreased by 3.2 points in October to 87. Sentiment toward technology spending suggests some tech buying took place in September due to recent product releases. The October decline came as a surprise considering the solid economic outlook. However, tech expectation soared in December with the CEA reaching its highest level (97.3) since tracking began in January 2007.2

Apple posted Q3’14 revenue of US$42.1bn and net profit of US$8.5bn, or US$1.42 per diluted share. These results increased from Q3’13 revenue of US$37.5bn and net profit of US$7.5bn, or US$1.18 per diluted share. Gross margin was 38% in Q3’14 compared to 37% in Q3’13. International sales accounted for 60% of the quarter’s revenue. Apple continued to aggressively execute its capital return program, spending over US$20bn in the quarter and bringing cumulative returns to US$94bn. Apple gained smartphone market share among the top five vendors in calendar Q3 on the strength of robust iPhone 6 sales. Rival Samsung held market share, but saw revenue and profits plunge as Apple forced Samsung into mid-tier competition with companies such as Xiaomi. In addition to smartphone sales, the global PC market reacted very favorably to Apple's Mac product line, putting Apple among the top five PC vendors for the first time in Q3’14.3

Toshiba reported net sales of US$15.6bn, a decrease of 7% year over year, and posted net income of US$200mn, an increase of 21% year over year. The increase in net income was driven by increased demand in their Energy & Infrastructure segment due to increased sales in Nuclear Power Systems.

  1., October 2014
  2. Consumer Electronics Association, October and December 2014
  3., October 2014

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