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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.”