Niche distributors received a stark warning last week, as incoming chief executive of Ingram Micro Greg Spierkel predicted broadliners would start to squeeze them out the market.
Spierkel, who officially took over the number one role from Kent Foster on 1 June (CRN, 11 April) told CRN a number of niche players would start to feel the pressure from “a couple of broadliners” as they add more specialisations to their portfolios.
“Europe has more niche players than other geographies such as Asia or North America. I would say that a lot of niche players are at risk over time from companies such as ours.
“We have started to focus on the niche play but with broadline capability. We are in a good position over the next two to four years as we see a bit more consolidation in the market. Our company and maybe a couple of competitors will make it increasingly difficult for smaller players to make it on their own.”
However, niche players hit back at Speirkel’s comments. Mukesh Gupta, managing director of security specialist e92plus, told CRN: “From a customer’s and reseller’s point of view, dealing with a niche player is easier in terms of service and support.
“From the vendors’ point of view, they like to have a broadliner on board, but what added value do they provide? I don’t think niche will ever disappear. Some players may be bought out but others will emerge in their place,” he said.
Simon Welch, commercial director at specialist distributor Clarity, said: “A broadliner sells what a customer wants to buy and that equals low value. Niche players have higher technical competency and level of integration with vendors and can provide the raft of services that resellers really need.”
Andrew Saunders, divisional managing director at networking distributor Crane, said: “The way product lifecycles are reducing, and with continued convergence in our space, the specialisation and value of distributors like us have an increasingly important part to play.”
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