After almost a decade in the doldrums 2017 was an ‘inflection point’ for the UK electronic components industry and Fletcher predicts that the global electronic components market will see a hockey-stick shaped growth trajectory over the next five years: “I anticipate that the UK electronic components markets will continue to grow over the next few years but at a rate lower than the global average rather than at the top of the growth curve,” Fletcher added. He believes that the ongoing merger and acquisition activity in the electronic components markets is likely to continue in 2018 and cautions that consolidating these changes will continue to be a challenge for all parties: “But assuming there are no new major macroeconomic shocks, the recovery cycle in the global electronic components markets will continue, with much stronger consistent growth likely for the rest of this decade” Fletcher concluded.
As individual ecsn members see 2018…
Solid State Supplies expects that its strong growth figures of 2017 will continue into 2018. According to Managing Director, John MacMichael the positive book to bill ratios in the industry and in the business give cause for optimism whilst the continuing move by some manufacturers away from the multiple global distributor model to a model that relies on a single global distributor with local highly focused technical distribution is creating new and exciting opportunities: “For some distributors such as Solid State this recognition of the value of focused technical support is giving rise to accelerated growth over and above that of the market,” MacMichael said. “Fortune favours the brave and those manufacturers that are brave enough to alter their distribution model are certainly seeing the benefit and contributing to Solid State’s expected growth.”
Mouser Electronics grew it’s business in Europe by 40% in 2017. The company’s Director-EMEA, Customer Service Graham Munson summed it up as an “extraordinary year” in the distribution channel, where forecasts set in 2016 proved to have no correlation to the market. He puts these buoyant times down to several factors – longer lead-times; allocation on some materials; and much higher demand than expected within EMS community. He is expecting a strong following wind in 1H and believes the main restriction to growth in 2018 will be availability of inventory whist the market stays in its current mode: “The growth factor at Mouser has been exciting during 2017. Our continued decision to invest in inventory has enabled us to meet the demands for stock, and we’ve made further investment in driving more traffic to our website,” Munson said. “Our suppliers and distribution peers support our confidence about similar opportunities next year, especially in the first half and we will be disappointed if we grow less than 20% in 2018.”
Ismosys Managing Director Nigel Watts predicts a strong market next year with plenty of opportunities for continued growth: “Design starts are plentiful in high growth markets and demand continues to be strong”, Watts said. He does however feel that potential supply issues with some passive and memory components could stagnate the supply chain, and offshore volume production might skew the UK and Ireland TAM.
Harting UK enjoyed strong growth in 2017 due to a combination of a healthy order book, Project business and new product introductions. The company maintains a strong focus on the future and see Industry 4.0 and the need for greater industrial productivity as drivers for growth in its business. “We enter 2018 with cautious optimism but are cognisant that there are Brexit / political uncertainties,” commented Managing Director Peter Hannon. “Business has to be agile to cope with these uncertainties.”
According to Kevin Nicholls, General Manager UK, Ireland & South Africa, 2018 is expected to be another exceptional year for TTI: “Our policy of increased levels of inventory, personalised service and custom supply chain solutions continue to provide value to our customers in all market sectors,” Nicholls said. “I expect to see our market share continue to grow as customers and suppliers understand the benefits of a limited line stocking specialist distributor.” TTI will continue to invest in focus business sectors such as Defense, Aerospace & Space, Automotive & Transportation, including electric vehicles, and Industrial, where the drive is coming from developments in Industry 4.0. The company has increased its dedicated specialist teams to support these activities offering real market specific expertise and a focused strategy to support customers evolving requirements. To support its expected growth TTI’s expansion of its European headquarters in Munich is scheduled to be operational from the second half of 2018: “This development follows hard on the heels of news of similar expansion in the USA, Mexico and Asia and will add 18,000m² of office and warehouse space,” Nicholls said. “It’s in direct response to the growth in our business, which is significantly above the distribution sector in general.”
According to Paul Mullen, General Manager/Director, short term changes in market dynamics do not affect Anders Electronics as much as others in its peer group: “Our customer base is diversified geographically versus a regional focus, which has enabled us to grow strongly over the last few years: “As a strategic market for our growth aspirations we measure our performance in the UK more around projects and design wins rather than revenue derived”, Mullen said. The company’s engineering activity remains robust, both with leading technology consultant companies and manufacturers. It has seen new high level ideas in 2017 driving planned investment in new projects into 2018 as UK companies continue to excel in their chosen markets. Mullen is confident that the global market will continue to need and absorb leading edge competencies and doesn’t see Brexit posing any major concerns for his company or the majority its end customers: “We generally partner with specialists or leaders in their field,” Mullen continued, “and the overall technology market outlook looks good, driven by IOT, Automotive and Medical innovations and the need to access and interact with data drives the need for the products we specialise in. My only caveats are that design cycles from concept to production are increasing, the delay in government recognising the major contribution technology makes for the UK abroad and the lack of dynamic investment culture in the UK.”