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It Connector Market - Growth, Trends, Covid-19 Impact, And Forecasts (2021 - 2026)
The market for IT connectors is booming, owing to the global digital transition. Reliable connectivity, high performance, and efficiency are playing a vital role in the IT and Telecom industry, which is the primary factor boosting the growth of the market studied. High-performance networks with high bandwidth are essential for the various purposes in the modern IT industry, which provides a direct requirement for robust connectors supporting high bandwidth. IT connectors play a crucial role in avoiding excessive data transmission rates, where zettabytes of data need to be transmitted neatly with any uncertainties.
- While the computer display interface standards are slow to move, at the same time, their movement is inexorable: monitor resolutions continue to increase, as do refresh rates and color depths, requiring more and more bandwidth to carry signals for the next generation of monitors. Keeping pace with the demand for bandwidth, the DisplayPort standard, the cornerstone of PC display standards, has been through several revisions since it was first launched over a decade ago. In June 2019, the standard ...
... took the most significant leap with the release of the DisplayPort 2.0 specification. DisplayPort 2.0 could be utilized for shooting for 8K and above. Introducing not just single but a few different bitrate modes, the fastest mode in DisplayPort 2.0 will top out at 80 Gbps of raw bandwidth, which is about 2.5 times that of DisplayPort 1.4/1.3. This is expected to boost the DisplayPort connectors related to computers significantly.
- DesignCon is a platform for demonstrating the continuous evolution of technology and hardware necessary to support several next generations of high-performance electronic equipment. DesignCon 2020 celebrated its 25th anniversary, where the exhibit floor featured over 180 exhibitors, including more than 22 connector manufacturers. Interconnects targeting PCI Express Gen5 and Gen-Z applications, as well as coaxial connectors in demand for 5G antennas and base stations, were evident. I-PEX, for instance, showcased its NOVASTACK 35-HDN shielded board-to-cable connector that features contacts on 0.035mm pitch and 0.7mm stack height for mobile and hotspot applications. Samtec demonstrated that a cable backplane using ExaMAX connectors could be combined with NovaRay cable connectors to produce a mid-board flyover solution operating at 112Gb/s PAM4 per channel.
- In March 2020, TE Connectivity (TE), a provider of connectivity solutions for high-speed computing and networking applications announced the launch of its new STRADA Whisper cable receptacles, which can allow engineers to start designing for up to 112G PAM-4 data rates in servers, switches, and routers that are used in the IT industry. These cable receptacles contain STRADA Whisper connectors on one end and connect to several other high-speed solutions on the other, including mid-board, backplane, or input/output (I/O) products, bypassing the printed circuit board (PCB) and resulting minimization insertion loss and crosstalk. TE's STRADA Whisper cable receptacles are utilized for maintaining optimized signal integrity at high frequencies. The cabled receptacles could also save space on the PCB, which can be necessary for dense equipment designs.
- The majority of the vendors are manufacturing edge-computing power connectors to facilitate the flow of highly sensitive data from the device to the cloud and back again. This factor is essential for manufacturing connectors for AI and augmented reality. The outbreak of COVID-19 has led China to announce a lockdown and practice social isolation in the initial months of 2020. This factor halted manufacturing, as well as the production of various equipment and machinery for several weeks. Furthermore, the country also restricted its import and export of critical raw materials and industrial equipment. This factor is impacting the supply chain. Alternatively, several retailers and distributors' closure reduced the availability of components, such as connectors, across the European and North American regions.
Key Market Trends
IT and Telecom is Expected to Hold Significant Share
- To support the surge of 5G rollouts around the world, several companies are launching connectors necessary to support the infrastructure. In July 2020, Amphenol RF has announced the expansion of its high-frequency SMA Connector Series with extended frequency cable mount connectors that operate up to 34 GHz. With a lightweight, compact, and vibration proof design, these connectors are ideal for various applications, including 5G wireless infrastructure, RFID, and radar systems. These new cable connectors are available in a straight solder plug configuration and optimized for multiple conformable and semi-rigid cables. A threaded coupling mechanism ensures uniform contact of the outer conductors, enabling the SMA connector to minimize reflections and attenuation at higher frequencies. This allows for a high degree of mechanical strength and durability.
- In February 2020, CommScope announced multiple connectors, antenna solutions, and power options to make it simpler and faster for wireless operators to build their networks. The number of ports is increasing, which can lead to confusion and incorrect wiring. The CommScope is introduced to the M-LOC cluster connector to support the increase in antenna port quantities resulting from multiple bands on a single antenna. In less than five years, port counts have grown from less than 10 to comfortably above 20 on a single antenna. M-LOC enables up to 5 network connections on a single push and locks motion reducing installation time by more than 75%. It removes ports connections uncertainty to 8T8R and 4T4R antennas and ensures best in class Return Loss, Passive intermodulation, and attenuation performances.
- In April 2020, Cinch Connectivity Solutions, a provider RF connectivity solution, announced the release of 2.92 mm, 40 GHz cable assemblies utilizing two Cinch brands, connectors from Johnson, and low loss PTFE cables from Semflex. The latest 40 GHz Test Cable Assemblies uses 2.92 mm connectors from Johnson coupled with Semflex HP160S cable with Vp (velocity of propagation) of 76%, offering high performance for test and measurement environments. These cables assemblies are designed to provide 40 GHz operating performance and a VSWR max of 1.25. Ideal applications align with the company's product development of 5G/mm-wave products to support communications, telecom, and test & measurement industries.
- In February 2020, Stewart Connector, a Bel group company and engages in the manufacturing of RJ45 connectors used in Ethernet communications, announce the expansion of their 60300 Jack Series. This product line delivers the only RJ45 connector solution capable of providing a 10GBase-T Ethernet signal while also providing an economical solution and upgrade path for 2.5G and 5G applications. The 60300 Series form factor is one of the smallest available, making the jack ideal for applications driven by space restrictions but still require an Ethernet connection. With the expansion of the 60300 Series, Stewart Connector has added Bi-Color LED options to their 10G jack offering. These small form factor products are also designed to support PoE applications requiring 15W up to 100W, which is often a requirement for IoT devices.
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Asia-Pacific is Expected to Witness Fastest Growth
- The continuous advancements in communication technologies are the major factors boosting the growth of the cable connectors market, precisely the demand for and the production of consumer electronics in the Asia-Pacific region. Moreover, IT and communications support for automated processes in industrial applications facilitated the easier adoption among the manufacturers. Sensor components, faster networks, and flexible interfaces with high levels of reliability and secured hierarchical access, as well as error-correction options, added productivity, continued quality deliveries, and minimized manufacturing costs in the region.
- The government organizations in the region have undertaken many initiatives and regulations to improve the network infrastructure. The initiatives like these are expected to augment the demand for high-speed data transmission cables and connectors. For instance, the Chinese government and the local vendors are actively promoting the plans for the development of 5G, with the deployment of the same expected by the end of 2020. This initiative is expected to develop upgrades across communication infrastructure while installing better connectors and other equipment. In March 2020, Jio, one of the major telecom operators in India, announced the development of its 5G technology as it looks to reduce dependence on foreign vendors and bring cost-related advantages.
- In June 2019, seven days of hearings were held before the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on the proposal to expand tariffs to an additional USD 300 billion in imports from China. On September 1, 2019, tariffs were instituted on roughly USD 110 billion in Chinese imports. This change hit a variety of markets, including consumer electronics, and some technology products. Tariffs of 25% imposed previously on USD 250 billion worth of Chinese goods risen to 30%. All suppliers should be expected to pass through current and any new tariffs, which means raising costs of all components listed in the Section 301 tariff act, including connectors, PCB assemblies, resistors, etc. This expected to negatively impact the exports of IT connectors from China to the United States.
- The novel coronavirus known as COVID-19, has disrupted every aspect of life in China's Hubei province and its capital Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. Hubei is also a significant hub for electronics manufacturing, producing memory chips, semiconductors, optics, fiber optics, automotive components, wire and cable connectors, displays, connectivity products, and other critical parts. During DesignCon 2020, connector companies expressed concern as China's state council announced a move to extend the traditional Chinese New Year factory closings to February first week as a measure to help contain the virus. This unpreceded interruption will reverberate across supply chains for months to come, with some experts anticipating a three-to six-month disruption of electronics supply chains.
The IT connector market is highly fragmented, as the players can quickly enter the market, owing to the rising demand and low capital investment required. Moreover, the companies in the market have been continually launching or updating their product portfolio. Some of the key players include Amphenol Corporation, Molex Inc. (Koch), TE Connectivity Limited, and 3M Company.
- February 2020 - Amphenol Corporation, at DesignCon 2020, showcased ExaMAX 2 backplane connector that is plug-compatible with standard ExaMAX but is cost-optimized while retaining the ability to support 112Gb/s applications. The company also demonstrated 112Gb/s channels between two Micro LinkOVER board mounted connectors joined by two Paladin cable connectors and 44 of 32AWG twin-ax cable.
- February 2020 - Molex, at DesignCon 2020, showcased the Impulse orthogonal direct midplane connector running at 112Gb/s. Molex also displayed pluggable I/O connectors at the expo, including QSFP-DD connectors running 112Gb/s over 1.8m of cable, QSFP-DD connectors running 56Gb/s over 5m of active cable, and OSFP connectors running 112Gb/s over 2m of cable.
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