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IT sales through distribution are currently exceeding the peak levels achieved prior to the economic crisis that began in Sept. 2008, according to the Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC), comprised of the computer industry’s wholesale distributors dedicated to serving the channel. The organization, whose member sales are tracked by independent databases available to subscribers of the NPD Group Distributor Track in the U.S. and Context SalesWatch in Europe, also noted market conditions have further stabilized in Europe.

The GTDC reported desktop and notebook categories are up more than 25 percent in the U.S. from the lows reached in the first quarter of 2009, while storage and networking sectors, representing more than $4 billion in annual U.S. sales combined, were up 23 percent and 28 percent, respectively. Based on the information gleaned from the NPD Group Distributor Track and Context SalesWatch databases, the GTDC said storage and networking products are poised to lead the sales turnaround in the U.S. and Europe.

"April sales in the U.S. actually came in higher than in April 2007 and 2008 as well as 2009, growing by more than 27 percent on a year- over-year basis," GTDC CEO Tim Curran said in a prepared statement.  
"The industry downturn hit Europe three months later than the U.S., and we’re now also starting to see year-over-year growth return to various product categories in this region."

In Europe, which is expected to lag the rest of the world in economic growth over the next year, IT sales through distribution represented a bright spot in the otherwise gloomy outlook. When comparing the second quarter of 2009, the bottom of the region’s downturn, and the fourth quarter of 2009, computer sales increased 48 percent, while sales of storage products rose 33 percent. On a year-over-year basis, storage product sales rose a more modest eight percent.

The GTDC also noted networking product sales in Europe grew 13 percent from the second quarter through the fourth quarter of last year and increased three percent in the first quarter of 2010, when compared to the prior year. In the U.S., consumer-oriented categories, such as flat-panel televisions and video products including camcorders, grew rapidly over the past year, even when most other categories were declining, Curran noted. "These categories have fully recovered and surpassed peak U.S. sales levels in the fourth quarter of 2007," he said.