In its second CRN monthly report, analyst Context's Channel Facts survey shows that the grey market is still a problem for resellers across Europe, despite the open markets of the European Union.
In total, 47.7 per cent of resellers in western Europe said the unofficial importing and selling of IT goods threatened their business, and more than a third of these classified the threat as serious. In France and Germany the 'serious threat' rating was 26 per cent, compared with 19 per cent in the UK.
Printer consumables top grey scale
While printer consumables were listed as the top grey product by 42.6 per cent of European resellers, desktop and notebook PCs came in second, mentioned by 38 per cent of resellers questioned in Context's Channel Facts survey. The split between desktops and notebooks was about equal.
With printer consumables at the top of the list, it is not surprising that printer giant Hewlett-Packard was singled out as the vendor most affected by grey market activity.
Bright future for colour lasers
The number of printers sold through the UK channel rose by 33 per cent in March compared with the previous month, according to Context's SalesWatch data.
When compared with unit sales for the same month in 2003, the increase was 47 per cent. Colour laser machines continue to gain ground, with sales increasing by 84 per cent in March against the same month the year before, and monochrome lasers were up by 41 per cent.
Colour laser revenues were up by 36 per cent while monochrome laser revenues grew by 27 per cent against March 2003.
Fine forecast for European sales
Context found European resellers' sales expectations were generally upbeat in April and had recovered from the drop they experienced in March, with the French and the UK the most optimistic.
On the other hand, the outlook for resellers in Germany was on the gloomy side, with an an overall growth rate of only five per cent being forecast. Notebooks bounced back as the top business growth area, with French resellers the most bullish about notebook sales, forecasting a growth rate of 14.4 per cent.
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