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Apple and Lenovo top the charts over summer: ITscope market barometer Q3/2020

The third quarter has seen continued success for Apple’s iPhone SE and Lenovo’s ever-popular E15 notebook, while Microsoft has made significant gains in the high-flyer charts. The crisis atmosphere seems to only persist in the PC systems category.

Karlsruhe, 22/10/2020 – The summer months of the third quarter of 2020 initially provided further relief with regard to the corona pandemic. However, winter is just around the corner and many companies are already preparing to switch back to working in home office during the cold season. Suitable equipment for working from home therefore continues to be in great demand, as the ITscope Q3/2020 market barometer shows.


While home office equipment was almost completely sold out at the beginning of the year, stock levels have increasingly normalised over the last two quarters. Interest in flexible working equipment does not seem to be waning however. Recent Q3 figures show that many companies continued to upgrade infrastructure as autumn and winter was approaching, to provide employees with everything they need for their home office.

There is currently no improvement in sight for the PC systems, the weakest category from the previous quarter, are still having a difficult time due to being less suitable for home office work. The number of clicks did not improve in this category, and there has also not been much movement in the top charts.

The iPhone SE, on the other hand, has been very successful: it’s not only the most popular smartphone this quarter, but also once again tops the highflyer charts. Microsoft is also catching up and has secured three places in the top ten with devices from the Surface series.

The category of TFTs, which is usually not known for introducing great innovations, is also particularly interesting this quarter: Dell has landed five products in the top ten charts, beating competitor TFTs from HP, LG and Lenovo. An equally exciting battle can be observed in the smartphone category: Apple has secured the top places with the new iPhone SE and iPhone 11. However, Samsung is not letting loose and is in hot pursuit of the Californian manufacturer.


Highflyer: iPhone SE still number one

Despite securing a top placement with the iPhone SE, which, as in the previous quarter, secured first place in the highflyer charts, Apple cannot maintain the outstanding overall result of Q2. While the Californian manufacturer previously had four products at the top of the charts, it is now only the iMac, along with the iPhone SE, that has landed a top ranking with 9th place. Microsoft, on the other hand, is catching up again and recapturing the top ten of the high-flyer charts with no less than three products.

The popular iPhone SE, which has been listed since April of this year, continues to hold the top spot in the highflyer charts this quarter. This should not come as a surprise, as Apple’s SE series continues to impress with a very good price to performance ratio, especially for the business sector. With a Wholesale Selling Price (WSP) of €388, it is also roughly €20 cheaper than in the previous quarter. Some retailers even offered the iPhone for as little as €330.

With the Surface Go 2 in second place, Microsoft has regained a top placement in this quarter. The Surface Go 2 is the cheapest version of the Surface series, and at a WSP of only €615 it’s a real bargain. With 128 GB of SSD storage and a CPU clock speed of up to 3.4 GHz, the tablet can certainly also be used in the office. A keyboard, however, is not included in the price. The Surface Go 2 is a good entry-level model for people who want to get to know the Surface series better.

With a lead of just a few clicks, Microsoft also landed third place with the Surface Go 2’s big brother, the Surface Book 3. With a high-resolution 3,240 x 2,160 pixel 15″ screen, latest generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD, it leaves nothing to be desired. Like its predecessor, the Surface Book 3 screen can be detached from the keyboard at the touch of a button, allowing it to be used as a tablet. This Surface model’s performance does not come cheap, however. A WSP of slightly over €2000 is currently being charged for the notebook.

Intel’s CPU star climbed from 7th to 4th place: the Intel Core i9 10900K, which has been listed with ITscope since the end of April 2020, can once again improve its previous quarter’s ranking significantly – the processor continues to impress with top performance. Once again, the only weak point is the price, which remains unchanged with a WSP of over €500.

After landing 2nd and 3rd place, Microsoft has also secured 5th place with the Surface Dock 2. This product serves as a docking station specially developed for Surface models, forming the interface between mobile working and a fixed workstation environment. Plenty of interfaces are available: the docking station comes with two HD video connections, a Gigabit Ethernet connection, four USB 3.0 ports and a connection for audio output – but at a WSP of €172 it is not exactly cheap either.

A fresh newcomer, the GeForce RTX 3080 iChill X4, listed since September, made it to 8th place in the highflyer Charts. The graphics card from NVIDIA, which has been modified by Inno3D, is one of the most powerful in this price range, but at a WSP of over €700 it is not cheap either. For this price you get a lot of features: 8,704 shaders and 10 GByte GDDR6X memory with a memory bandwidth of 760 GByte/s will cause any gamer’s heart, but also that of every graphics artist or video producer, to beat faster. Visually, the GeForce RTX 3080 iChill X4 looks as appealing as the predecessor, thanks to RGB LEDs and metal detailing. Users that place more value on performance than optics can do without the modification by Inno3D, because in terms of performance, the Founders Edition is identical and about €100 less expensive.

The trend towards working in home office continues unabated: a survey conducted in July 2020 by the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO and the German Association for Personnel Management (DGFP), with over 500 German companies, showed that almost half of the companies surveyed intend to expand their home office capabilities. A similar number of respondents stated they were still undecided. Even with a conservative estimate, it is likely that well over half of companies will continue to expand virtual forms of work. This is accompanied by a continuing high demand for equipment that is suitable for working in the home office. After Danish manufacturer Jabra’s Evolve2 headset was in the high-flyer charts in the previous quarter, this quarter the Blackwire C3220 from Poly made it to 6th place. When compared to the Evolve2, the Blackwire C3229 is inexpensive with a WSP of only €34, and offers everything you need for phone calls or video conferences in your home office.

A webcam has also made the highflyer charts with the Midland W199 in 14th place. Midland barely made a showing in previous market barometers, the US manufacturer of radio communication products is based in Kansas City, Missouri and has been around since 1959. At a WSP of only €36, the W199 is a low-cost entry-level model, making it popular for home office applications.


TFTs: Dell dominates, HP loses

The TFT category is not exactly known for major innovations, but this does not diminish the popularity of these products. Quite the contrary: since the beginning of the corona pandemic, there has been a real run on monitors to upgrade every last home office to an efficient working environment. Dell in particular is catching up enormously this quarter and has secured five places in the top ten. Competitors such as HP, LG and Lenovo were unable to assert themselves against the US manufacturer in the summer months.

The Dell P2419H leads by a very clear margin. Only a year ago, in the third quarter of 2019, the HP EliteDisplay led the category with 4,100 clicks, but now the P2419H clearly dominates the TFT segment with over 9,000 clicks. Compared to the previous quarter, this popular 24″ LED monitor has again improved immensely, achieving over 60 percent more clicks. The price is particularly enticing: at a WSP of only €130, the P2419H is one of the cheapest monitors in the top ten. Although there are better models in terms of resolution (in this case FullHD) and also colour coverage, this seems to be less of a problem due to the comparatively small screen area. That’s why the Dell P2419H once again landed a well-deserved 1st place, leading the list for the fourth quarter in a row.

The Dell UltraSharp U2415, listed since 2014 and thus by far the oldest TFT in the top ten, made it to 2nd place this quarter. This is a good example of the fact that innovation cycles in the TFT sector are longer and even products with ‘advanced age’, such as the U2415, have almost the same standard as newer screens from 2018 and 2019. At the same time the monitor has a very stable WSP of €180.

It remains to be seen whether the newer ‘hub’ monitors with USB-C Power Delivery, Ethernet connection and DisplayPort Daisy Chaining will be able to show off their advantages over the enduring favourites. Though not making the top ten, a model that is already equipped with USB-C made it into the top 25: the Dell Dell P2419HC landed the 21st place. Having been listed since August 2018, its ranking is steadily improving. In the previous quarter, the monitor, which has a WSP of around €170, was still back in 39th place. Two of the newer Dell monitors with a USB-C connection also climbed to 40th and 41st place: the P2719HC and the P2720DC. Both monitors also managed to significantly improve on their previous quarter ranking (rank 86 and 191). We are yet to see how this will develop in the next quarter.


Smartphones: head-to-head race between Apple and Samsung

As in Q2, the two smartphone giants Apple and Samsung continue to dominate the field. Although Apple is still in first and second place, and has six top ten places overall, Samsung is quickly catching up, beating the Californian manufacturer to third and fourth place. Huawei at least made it into the top 15 this quarter.

After the iPhone SE secured second place last quarter with the 64GB version, this time round it overtook the previous quarter’s winner by a wide margin and over 4,000 clicks, landing a well-deserved first place. This does not come as a surprise, as the iPhone SE was already a convincing smartphone in Q2, being the price-performance winner with a WSP of less than €400 and coming with the latest technology. The iPhone 11, which has been displaced from pole position, reached 2nd place with almost 2,500 clicks.

Samsung secured 4th place with the Galaxy S20, which has been listed since the end of January. With 128 GB of storage space and a WSP of €612, the S20 is one of Samsung’s top models with exciting new features, such as a high refresh rate of 120 Hz, promising an even smoother user experience. However, anyone operating the phone in 120 Hz mode will have to make sacrifices in terms of battery life. In a recent test, the smartphone scores very well with an overall mark of 1.2.

The Samsung Galaxy A41 took 11th place. With a WSP of only €212, the smartphone falls into the low price segment of this product category – but still has a lot to offer in return. A 25 MP front camera and 48 MP for the main camera ensure razor-sharp pictures, and there is also an ultra-wide angle and a depth camera. As you would expect from Samsung, you don’t have to make any compromises with the OLED display, and Dual Sim is also standard for the smartphone. The processor, on the other hand, is comparatively slow, and there is little in the way of extra features (as can be expected for this price segment).

The only cheaper device can be found in 19th place, with the Samsung Galaxy A21s, which is available for a WSP of only €154. The smartphone has a large battery with 5,000 mAh, and the processor power is also completely sufficient with 8 cores and a clock rate of up to 2GHz. However, the four built-in cameras are not convincing: only with good light conditions and a steady hand can you get half-decent photos here. The smartphone is sufficient as a beginner or interim model though.


Tablets: Apple in the lead, Microsoft and Samsung catching up

Once again, not much has changed in the tablet category and there is almost no movement in the upper ranks. However, experience shows that this will change as we get closer to the Christmas season. Apple, for example, announced two new iPad models in the ‘standard’ and Air lineup in its keynote speech on 15th September, these devices will be available starting from October.

Ranks 1 to 3 are still occupied by the winners from the previous quarter: with over 5,000 clicks, the Apple 10.2-inch iPad is at the top of the list, in second place is the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 and third place is taken by the Samsung Galaxy Tab A.

However, it is worth taking a closer look at two other tablets. The Microsoft Surface Go 2, which has been listed since March 2020, made it to 6th place and is therefore right at the top – which is why it deserves a place in the Highflyer Charts. The Surface Go 2 offers sufficient performance for basic office applications and, with a WSP of €600, is also very good value for money. With a battery life of over 11 hours, this device is also a suitable companion when travelling.

The Apple iPad Pro with 12.9″ comes in 7th place this quarter, and is continuing to battle its way towards the competitor device from Microsoft – the Surface Pro 7. The Surface Pro 7 currently occupies second place and is very similar to the iPad Pro both in terms of features and functionality. Both are priced at a WSP of over €1000 and are a full-value alternative to classic notebooks or PC desktop systems in terms of performance.


Notebooks: Lenovo E15 & AMD on the rise

The hype surrounding the Lenovo ThinkPad E15 doesn’t seem to have come to an end when it comes to notebooks. With 12,000 clicks, this Lenovo notebook once again managed to improve on its result from the previous quarter, achieving first place. Interestingly, the Lenovo ThinkPad E15 achieved almost as many clicks as the remaining top ten combined – overshadowing competitor products from Microsoft, Apple and HP.

Second place is taken by the HP ProBook 450 G7, which, with its 15 inch screen, i5 processor, 8GB RAM and 256 GB SSD, can easily compete with Lenovo’s E15. Despite significantly lower click numbers, the ProBook 450 G7 seems to be no less popular: it is currently completely sold out on ITscope. This high demand is also reflected in the WSP, which is about €100 higher than a month ago.

The HP 255 G7 also made a good showing – the Californian manufacturer’s notebook directly leaped from 206th to 8th place. A special feature is that the notebook is equipped with an AMD CPU, which is still quite rare in the top ten. With a WSP of €492, the HP 255 G7 also sends a clear message to the competition in terms of price. However, the low price unfortunately also affects the display quality, especially the colour fidelity. The built-in Ryzen 5 4500U in 7nm technology offers a powerful computing core, with which all applications in an office environment can be handled without problems. Users that mostly keep their notebooks stationary and connected to a high-resolution external monitor can use the 255 G7 without any major gripes.

The fact that AMD is advancing among notebooks is made evident by another up-and-comer: the Lenovo ThinkPad E15, currently still in first place with Intel CPU, climbed from 715th to 14th place in the AMD CPU variant. And that’s no coincidence: in a recent test, the E15 with an AMD core performs better than with the Intel CPU. However, this increased performance is also accompanied by a slightly higher energy consumption. This has no effect on the battery life: at 12.7 hours, the AMD variant even lasts a little longer than the model with the Intel CPU, where the runtime is 12 hours according to the manufacturer. In terms of price, AMD’s advantages are only barely noticeable: at a WSP of around €690, the AMD variant is only about €35 more expensive than the first-placed ThinkPad E15 with an Intel CPU.


PC systems: crisis feeling persists

The feeling of a crisis still prevails in the PC systems category: click figures are falling even further and there is hardly any movement in the upper ranks. Lenovo’s ThinkCentre M720q 10T7 has remained in first place since the beginning of 2020 – but even this popular PC system has taken a beating. In the last quarter it managed to achieve over 6,000 clicks, whereas now it only reaches slightly over 3,500 clicks. Also, the downward trend in the Wholesale Selling Price (WSP), which was recently discussed in an analysis of the inventory figures of the ITscope platform, has continued and it does not seem like prices will rise again in the near future.

Apple has provided a rising star with the iMac, which was first listed in August 2020. This device jumped from a standing start into 9th place. With a latest-generation i5 processor, 3.3 GHz clock speed (can be boosted up to 4.8 GHz), a fast 512 GB SSD hard drive and a 5K Ultra HD display, the Apple iMac has everything you need to run demanding applications with ease. However, much to the annoyance of iMac fans, it’s probably the last time that the 27-inch Intel iMac will be available in this form. With a WSP of €1,820, it is also the most expensive desktop system among the top 25.

AMD is also providing an upswing in this category: the Lenovo V55t-15API 11CC tower PC, equipped with a 3.7 GHz Ryzen 5, jumped from 99th to 14th place. In terms of price, there is a world of difference between the tower PC and the iMac: the Lenovo V55t-15API 11CC is available for only €380, making it one of the cheapest models in the Top 25.


Graphics cards: newcomers and up-and-coming players compete with MSI

The first three places are, as in Q1, once again occupied by MSI with the RTX 2080 Ti GAMING X TRIO, RTX 2070 SUPER GAMING X TRIO and the RTX 2060 SUPER GAMING X. However, following the top 3, the graphics card landscape changes – several rising stars made it into the top 25.

The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Blower V2 from PNY climbed up from 37th to 4th place. This graphics card from the manufacturer based in New Jersey, USA, delivers above-average results in almost every category. 13.45 Terraflops processor power, 4352 shader units and 136 GPixel/s will be enough for almost every graphics artist. These features come with a corresponding high price: users wanting to install the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Blower V2 must be prepared to pay a WSP of €1250.

The Inno3D VGA Inno3D GeForce® RTX 3080 10GB iCHILL X4 comes in cheaper in terms of cost. This high performance graphics card, still completely fresh in the market having only been listed since mid-September, leaped from zero directly into 5th place and is therefore also justifiably listed in the Highflyer Charts. With a WSP of €720, this graphics card is positioned in the middle price segment.


Mainboards: Supermicro leaps to the top

There has been a lot of movement in the top ranks – though it’s not just the usual suspects this time.

In 1st place is the ASUS PRIME B450M-A, which came third in the previous quarter. With a WSP of only €65, it’s a real bargain and has all the important functions despite the inexpensive price. This mainboard also offers on-board graphics with compatibility to AMD processors, such as AMD Athlon, AMD Ryzen 3, 2nd Generation AMD Ryzen 3, AMD Ryzen 3 3rd Gen and AMD Ryzen 5. However, there are a few cutbacks to be made for this low price. The popular Displayport connector, for example, is no longer provided with this board. With only one HDMI output, this mainboard offers little room for a sophisticated office setup.

The normally rather reserved manufacturer Supermicro secured 2nd and 3rd place with the SUPERMICRO H11SSL-i and the SUPERMICRO H11DSI-NT, which made the leap forward from 13th and 68th place respectively. Both mainboards are suitable for server environments, an application that is not usually found in the upper places of the ranking. Both models also feature an SP3 socket, which is a CPU socket from AMD that can accommodate the Epyc series of server processors based on the Zen architecture. Contrary to the first-placed ASUS PRIME B450M-A, the two Supermicro mainboards are clearly in a different price league with a WSP of just under €280 and over €500 respectively.


Processors: AMD continues to take the lead, but Intel is not letting loose

The processor product category does not have any big surprises this time round: AMD continues to hold 1st and 2nd places with the Ryzen 5 3600 and Ryzen 7 3700X. In other product categories of this market barometer, it also became clear that AMD is becoming increasingly attractive.

Intel is of course not letting loose either: the Californian manufacturer is represented in the top ten with five CPUs and is still a serious competitor – but for many resellers Intel is becoming unattractive in terms of the price/performance ratio. The high prices can only be justified in the high-end sector, where Intel continues to try to score points against AMD in terms of performance.

This is also the case with the Intel Core i9 10900K, which has only been listed since April 2020 and is in 3rd place. In the previous quarter, this device already impressed with 10 cores and 20 threads with 3.7 GHz. At a WSP of over €500, the i9 10900K is however significantly more expensive than other top ten CPUs. In a direct comparison with the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X in 4th place, which has 12 cores and 24 threads at 3.8 GHz, the latter performs better. The 12 core AMD processor based on the Zen-2 architecture has a higher instructions per cycle/clock (IPC) rate, allowing it to achieve a similar performance as the i9 10900K under single core load. For applications that are very suited to multi-threading, however, the AMD CPU is about 10 percent faster – available for a WSP of only €380.

Another new product in the top ten is the Intel Core i7 10700K, which has also been listed since April and is now in 5th place. This means that Intel is competing at the top with its latest products, but once again it’s not enough for pole position this quarter.


Servers: HP Enterprise takes over top ten charts

HP Enterprise still clearly dominates the server category – and this quarter it even managed to claim the entire top ten for itself. However, the HP Enterprise ProLiant MicroServer, which has only been listed since February and is now in 3rd place, has brought some vitality into the top ten. HPE’s MicroServer is a low-cost compact server at entry level, specifically designed for small offices, home offices and small business environments. With 16 GB RAM and an Intel Xeon E-2224 processor, HPE offers a good entry point into the server world for a WSP of around €600.

The Fujitsu PRIMERGY TX1310 M3, which has been listed since January 2020, narrowly missed the top ten in 11th place, but at least provides some variety from the servers from top dog HP Enterprise. Significantly more movement can only be seen starting from 32nd place, where Fujitsu, Dell and Lenovo are also present.


Storage systems: newcomers from Synology an immediate success

A lot has happened here in the third quarter: Synology has had an immediate success with two new models that scored second and third place, and is now completely dominating the top 5.

The Synology Disk Station DS920+ has only been listed since July, and still achieved an impressive 2nd place. The storage system is particularly suitable for demanding home users or small businesses. The DS920+ NAS server offers 4K video transcoding, Dual NVMe M.2. cache, and useful, simple software. On the downside, Synology still only uses a 1 GBit/s LAN port on this model, even though the DS920+ is considered Synology’s top product in the 4 Bay NAS segment. However, it should be noted that a 10 Gbps port would only bring significant benefits with a built-in SSD cache. However, since the DS920+ has two LAN ports, the speed of both ports can be bundled to achieve 2Gbps, which is probably enough for the majority of users.


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About ITscope GmbH

Karlsruhe-based ITscope GmbH is the developer and operator of the B2B trading platform Together with its subsidiary cop software + services GmbH & Co. KG, ITscope forms a strong alliance to support system houses and ICT resellers in digitising their business processes. With the ‘B2B Suite’ digital sales solution, IT system houses can set up individual procurement portals for business customers, and seamlessly procure their needs via EDI for distribution, without the need for a classic shop system.

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