Industry Review: Decline in the Worldwide Motherboard Market Alleviated on Enterprise Replacement Demand in 2013
In retrospect, the worldwide motherboard Market shipments were lower than expected in the first quarter of 2013. This was mainly attributed to vendors' inventory stock-up ahead of the Chinese New Year and the still lackluster market demand after the holiday. In the second quarter, as the transition between new and older platforms was hindered by the defects of the 8-series chipsets for Haswell processors, demand for new products in the end-user market was languid. Instead of deploying new products, vendors shifted to put more efforts on digesting their inventories. In the third quarter, the mainstream and entry-level Haswell chipset platforms were launched in time to meet the strong demand during the back-to-school season and China's October holiday. Together with the replacement demand in the enterprise market spurred by Microsoft's rollout of new OS (Operating System) Windows 8.1, the worldwide motherboard market saw a positive growth in shipments in the third quarter of 2013. In the past, the fourth quarter mainly saw vendors adjusting their inventory levels. However, with Microsoft's new OS stimulating replacement demand in the enterprise desktop PC market, contract manufacturers saw further growth in shipment volume when desktop PC branded vendors were stocking inventories. According to an ICT industry research, the worldwide motherboard shipment volume in 2013 reached approximately 143.2 million units, down 2.8% year on year.
Worldwide Motherboard Shipment Volume, 1Q 2012- 4Q 2014
In 2014, it is expected that consumers will take a more conservative attitude towards product procurement since the pace of economic recovery in mature markets remains slow and the growth momentum in emerging markets continues to languish. Besides, with drop in prices of notebook PCs and growing popularity of tablets and smartphones, an increasing number of consumers will opt to buy mobile devices, which are relatively low-cost and have a shorter product life cycle. As the impact continues, some motherboard branded vendors have set a cap on their inventory levels to avoid excessive stockpile. It is anticipated that branded vendors will be more cautious when pulling in products from ODM partners.
In the enterprise market, the transition between new and older OSs and concern over information security will spur replacement demand and therefore bolster the motherboard market in 2014. In the end-user market, constant price decline and the rise of emerging computing devices have helped extend the usage life span of desktop PCs. Overall, the decline in worldwide motherboard industry's shipment volume will be significantly lessened in 2014, with total shipment volume reaching around 142.7 million units, slightly down 0.3% year on year. As emerging markets have become the major markets for motherboards, value-line products will have an increasing share in the industry's shipments. It is projected that the industry's shipment value in 2014 will reach US$6.2 billion, down 0.4% year on year.