Unusually high sales growth of almost 10% in the last quarter of 2018 meant the German electronic component distribution market finished on a high note.

Sales by distribution companies under the umbrella of the Fachverband Bauelemente-Distribution (FBDi e.V.) grew 9.8% to 928m euros. Conversely, orders fell 4.2% to 933m euros, equating to a balanced book-to-bill ratio of 1.01. The year 2018 overall resulted in sales of 3.83bn euros up by 6.5%.

Among the major product segments, passive components performed best posting a 13.3% increase to 134m euros, followed by semiconductors which rose11.5% to 652m euros and electromechanics which edged forward 0.8% to 89m euros.

Power supplies grew 5% to reach 25m euros, while displays declined 13.4% to 17.3m euros. The distribution by component type showed a slight growth in semiconductors and passives – with semiconductors accounting for 70.2% and passives 14.5% – while electromechanics at 9.6% and power supplies at 2.7% fell slightly. Other products contributed 3% to the overall figure.

For the full year 2018, FBDi members achieved a positive outcome: Sales rose by 6.5% to 3.83bn euros and orders grew 5.8% to 4.13bn euros). The current quarter will reveal how far the order buffer extends into 2019.

FBDi Chairman of the Board of Directors Georg Steinberger remarked: “Astonishingly, all quarters recorded nearly the identical sales levels with component shortages offsetting the usual seasonal variations. Given the decreasing order levels, however, this trend is unlikely to continue throughout 2019. Any growth is more likely to be in the low single-digit range.”

With regard to the general future outlook, Steinberger added: “For now, we must await the effects of Brexit and the dent in the German automotive industry, as well as several uncertainties outside Europe that will come our way over the next 12 to 18 months. The solution to the climate change challenge facing society lies in smarter and more efficient technologies and systems that can be expected to underpin lasting and increased demand for electronics. For this reason, the prospects for us high-tech service providers should remain good to excellent.”


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