The German component distribution industry shows no sign of slowing down. After 6.3% growth in Q1 and 12.2% in Q2, sales in Germany by companies registered with the Fachverband Bauelemente Distribution (FBDi e.V.) soared by 17.6% to 937m Euro in the third quarter of 2017 – an all-time high. Incoming orders grew 24.5% to 993m Euro, yielding a book-to-bill rate of 1.06. Total sales during the first nine months amounted to 2.75bn Euro.
Whereas semiconductor product sales climbed 17.5% to 659m Euro and passive components grew 14.3% to 126m Euro, electromechanics elevated growth to a new level, as sales leapt 30.7% to 96.5m Euro. In other product areas, power supplies grew by almost 20% and sensors by 8%, while sales of displays contracted by 10.7%. The breakdown of sales remained virtually unchanged: semiconductors 70%, passives 13%, electromechanics 10%, others (power supplies, sensors, displays, assemblies) 6%.
FBDi Chairman of the Board of Directors Georg Steinberger remarked: “There is nothing new to report on the shortage front. For semiconductors as well as for passives, we are seeing long lead times and higher prices, but also a cyclical increase in demand from customers across almost all industrial segments. This strength lead us to believe that Q4 will be excellent. Total sales for 2017 should finish at around 3.6bn Euro.”
How things will continue and, above all, how issues relating to distribution policy will evolve, says Steinberger, is another story altogether: “Gigantic mergers and the resulting pressure as well as the global trend for ‘exclusive’ distribution contracts may help individual companies, but not the industry and certainly not the customers whose choices are being eroded as a result.”