While other regions of the world achieved, in some cases significant, growth in 2020 despite COVID-19, Europe and particularly the German electronic components market were slow. Sales by distribution companies that are members of the Fachverband Bauelemente-Distribution (FBDi e.V.) association fell by 14.6% to €2.85 billion, dropping well below the former peak of €3.6 billion in 2018. At the end of the year, the situation became somewhat friendlier, with the fourth quarter ending with a minus of 8.1% and €632 million. By contrast, order intake grew at an above-average rate of just under 23% to €769 million, corresponding to a book-to-bill ratio of 1.22.
At the product level, passive components suffered most, with -21% in sales over the whole year. By Q4, down -3.4% to €77.5 million in sales, they lagged behind electromechanical components, which fell by 9.5% to €87 million, but were significantly more stable in a full-year comparison (-5.3%) and represented a good 13% of the sales pie (passives: 11.7%). Semiconductors were down 15.6% year-on-year, bringing Q4 sales to around €414 million. The share of the total market remained stable at 68%. The smaller product areas such as sensors (-8.9%), power supplies (-8.2%) and displays performed better, with the latter even increasing significantly (but this is probably due to the reporting mechanism of some members).