Netbooks Drive Higher Technology Sales in First Quarter

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

Notebooks, network security, VOIP, MFPs and server products drove sales growth for D&H Distributing and its SMB resellers in the distributor's first fiscal quarter, and the company tells Channel Insider that Microsoft Windows 7 will mean opportunities for pent up demand at the end of 2009 and into 2010.

Notebooks, netbooks and VOIP continue to boost sales for the small business reseller channel even as the recession grinds on. And there’s great promise in the coming release of Microsoft Windows 7.

That’s according to recent sales results released by D&H Distributing. The privately held IT distributor which specializes in SMB resellers is not required to release sales figures but says that its fiscal first quarter sales grew 5.5 percent year over year at a time when publicly held IT distributors, which are required to report audited sales numbers, such as Tech Data and Ingram Micro, have seen sales drop by double-digits year over year for their most-recent quarters.

Still, even with sales higher year over year, the numbers aren’t nearly as good as they would have been in a non-recession year, says Mary Campbell, vice president of marketing for D&H.

"Typically we’ve hit as much as 20 percent growth," in the first quarter, Campbell tells Channel Insider. "So without the stuff going on in the economy we would be doing better still. But just to be having positive growth is a good message."

High growth categories for Q1 included notebooks at 47 percent growth, network security hardware and licensing at 42 percent growth, scanners and imaging technology at 38 percent growth, multifunction printers at 29 percent growth, VOIP at 27 percent growth, server products at 23 percent growth, and digital cameras at 18 percent growth.

"These are categories that have saved customers’ dollars," says Campbell. "The message is to talk about how dollars can be saved when resources are stretched right now."

Growth in servers for SMBs comes from small businesses that are investing in server technology for the first time, according to Campbell.

"There’s an opportunity to help these small businesses to develop this kind of architecture," she says.

In terms of upcoming opportunities, D&H Distributing sees those same categories performing well until the end of the year, and also sees a lot of opportunity ahead with Microsoft’s release of the Windows 7 operating system.

"We see this as a good opportunity for the channel," Campbell says. "It’s a strong product, and it is going to help drive new PC purchases."

Campbell noted that the reseller community is excited about the opportunity to, citing a standing-room-only crowd of resellers at a recent D&H seminar on the topic at the distributor’s New England reseller event this month in Boston.

"Windows 7 will definitely be a bump for this calendar year and into next year, too," says Campbell. "We definitely believe some people have delayed some purchases because Windows 7 is coming."

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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