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Strength in netbooks, notebooks and overall mobility solutions has driven
D&H Distributing to a 6 percent growth in sales during the calendar first
quarter of 2009—a time when other IT distributors have reported double-digit
declines in sales.

D&H announced the results the week of May 4. But it’s important to note
that D&H is not a publicly held company and is not bound by the same strict
reporting requirements that publicly held companies must follow.

The following technological categories that have seen double-digit year-over-year
growth rates for the quarter, according to D&H:

  • Notebooks/netbooks:              54 percent
  • Mobile devices:                       41 percent
  • Processors/components:          39 percent
  • Server products:                      35 percent      
  • Storage/security:                      28 percent
  • Networking:                            17 percent

Co-president Dan Schwab attributes D&H’s sales strength to the company’s
model, which he says focuses on demand generation and providing every partner
with a dedicated sales rep. Schwab says D&H’s moves to add more sales reps,
increase credit offers to partners, and "double down" on training and
education have added to the success.

Also, D&H focuses on small businesses and consumer businesses rather
than the enterprise, which has been much harder hit during the current
recession, says Schwab.

But other trends follow what you might expect in a recession. For example,
IT vendors have offered more aggressive programs to their partners, Schwab says,
such as increased incentives, rebates and discounts.

However, Schwab says he hasn’t seen a relative increase in refurbished
equipment sales over new equipment sales. Instead, he says, D&H’s most
successful partners have focused on selling solutions rather than single
products. For example, a mobile solution could include a notebook, wireless
services and security, he says.

Schwab also points out that the technology industry layoffs have created a
greater interest in startup businesses.

"You can draw analogies to 2001 and 2002," he says. "A lot of
the layoffs occurred in the technology industry then, but we saw a huge growth
in new reseller interest [in] the market."

However, those new resellers don’t contribute
significantly to revenue right away. Rather, they are healthy seeds for future
business, says Schwab.