2024: recession, flat or growth?

Jon Barrett Electronics Sourcing
Jon Barrett, Managing Editor, Electronics Sourcing

I’m confused. I’ve spent a year in conversation with the electronics distribution sector and I can’t really call 2024. On one hand, news
across that period, plus the Supplier and Distributor Focus features in Electronics Sourcing UK, highlight the money OCMs, distributors and CEMs continue to invest in their people, products, facilities and processes.

If this news was my only signal, I would be calling growth. However, one organization that spends more time crunching figures than most, FBDI, states patience is required for 2024, as the turnaround in orders will depend not only on stock levels but also on the situation in the end markets. I would expect this as all players burn through inventory and orders accumulated in response to the pandemic.

Then there are signals from the broadcast media listing redundancies and financial stress across many industries. For example, now most of the early adopters own their electric vehicles, government subsidies are diminishing and transition legislation is being rolled back, the gloss is coming off the EV sector and prices of used vehicles are falling.

That said, I have spent plenty of time talking to engineering innovators about how they are improving battery technology with the aim
of making them faster to charge, safer, more reliable and longer lasting. Another example of huge risk capital being spent.

Everything considered, it all really depends on the sector and geography involved. For Europe, my feeling is that 2024 offers a little breathing space for all involved, while the investments that have been made improve productivity and margins, ready for the sector to push on hard in 2025. Time will tell.