I always look forward to the December issue of Electronics Sourcing. It’s an opportunity to ask a wide range of manufacturers and distributors for their experience over the past 12-months and their expectations for the coming year.
Every year, for the last decade, these Forecast features have typically delivered a diversity of views. Some contributors are bullish, others are bearish. Some see growth in one industry, others in a different sector. Not this year. This year is different.
Looking back, all the contributors seem to have had a common experience. The pandemic hit hard and hit fast. It disrupted supply and demand simultaneously. However, it also quickly became clear that big problems create equally big opportunities. Likewise, distributors are like smoothing capacitors, they exist to manage disruption. Distributors drew on their skills, experience, systems and stock and ‘managed the problems away’.
Looking forward, all the contributors have a common expectation. 2021 is going to be a gangbuster year, driven by 5G, electrification, IoT, medical, AI and more. As one commentator put it ‘even a global pandemic can’t stop the mega trends’. Likewise, some distributors which monitor new design activity have said 2020 was a record year.
Summarising all the comments, distribution questions for 2021 will be more about pricing and availability than where is the next order coming from.
To be honest, the above is not what I imagined I’d be writing back in March. It just goes to show how resilient the world, the people and this industry really is.