SMBs Prefer VARs over Buying Direct for PCs

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

A new Forrester Research study also found that SMBs plan to increase their IT spending for PCs this year by 7 percent.

More than half of SMBs prefer to buy their PCs from a VAR or systems integrator rather than direct from the vendor, and SMBs plan to increase their PC spending this year by 7 percent.

That's according to a new survey from Forrester Research of more than 1,000 small businesses—700 in North America and another 400 from Europe—examining their processes for buying PCs. 

Hardware accounted for 26 percent of SMB IT budgets in the past year, and the Forrester survey found that PCs are poised for the biggest year-over-year increase, 7 percent, when compared with other hardware categories, including servers, networks, storage, systems management and mobility.

What are SMBs' wants and needs? Find out here.

"Driving the next four years' spending increases will be the much-delayed rolling refresh cycles that are brought on by the upgrade to Windows Vista," Benjamin Gray, an analyst at Forrester Research, wrote in his report, "The PC Purchase Process for SMBs."

Another trend under way within SMBs is the shift from desktops to laptops. The ratio at these companies today sits at about 70 percent desktops to 30 percent laptops. But "employees are demanding more flexibility, prices have dropped, and IT wants its users to have access to data and applications regardless of their physical location," Gray wrote. "The higher margins that laptops and newer mobile form factors provide should help sustain revenues as more and more SMBs embrace the shift toward increased mobility."

The survey also found that these businesses value quality over price and rely heavily on their IT peers when choosing a vendor.

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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