Report: mobo market crunch puts the hurt on ECS and Biostar

— 4:55 PM on July 8, 2016

Update, July 12: Biostar reached out to us to let us know that the company is not leaving the consumer motherboard market. The original DigiTimes report we linked to has been amended, too. Our original story remains below.

The PC market has long been suffering from a move away from traditional desktops and laptops. According to DigiTimes, major motherboard makers are now feeling the pinch of that segmentation. The site says that many of those manufacturers are projecting sequential drops in shipments as deep as 20% to 30% for the second quarter of 2016. DigiTimes attributes these anticipated market trends to a long-running slump in demand, exchange rate fluctuations, political uncertainty, and what it describes as a delay in the arrival of Intel's Kaby Lake CPUs and their associated platforms.

For 2016 as a whole, DigiTimes' sources say that Gigabyte and Asus will experience a 5% year-on-year drop compared to last year's totals. DigiTimes says those companies expect to ship 17 million motherboards each in 2016. The site further estimates that MSI will ship 4.5 million units, while ASRock expects to sell 4 million mobos. As for the smaller players, DigiTimes claims that Colorful expects to ship 1.9 to 2 million boards, ECS will move two million units, and Biostar less than one million.

The site further believes that some smaller motherboard makers are planning to leave that market so they can focus on other businesses. DigiTimes says Biostar and Elitegroup Computer Systems (best known as ECS) have already thrown in the towel. The site says Biostar shipped 1.71 million motherboards in 2015, a 44% decrease from the year before. DigiTimes expects that the company's sales will shrink by half again this year. For those reasons, Biostar will purportedly change its primary focus to "[developing] embedded solutions." (No more Type-R-branded mobos almost makes us sad.) ECS, on the other hand, has apparently stopped releasing motherboards under its own name entirely.

Asus and Gigabyte are expected to pick up any standing orders from the bailing manufacturers. Those orders include mainly entry and mid-level motherboard models. Should this happen, DigiTimes thinks the big two can expect to maintain their 2016 shipments at the same level as last year.


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