Acer is fast becoming the darling of the channel as it soars to the top spot in the European notebook charts.
In a shock result, Acer toppled Hewlett-Packard (HP) from its perch as Europe's dominant notebook supplier, according to the latest first-quarter 2004 figures from market analyst Context.
Building on a spectacular Q4 in 2003, Acer ramped up its unit sales even further to take a 20.5 per cent share of the western European market - just ahead of HP on 20.4 per cent. This is the first time that Acer has ever topped the market, also beating other heavyweights such as Dell and Toshiba.
Acer's overall unit sales - PCs and notebooks - rocketed by 70.2 per cent in Q1 this year compared with the same period in 2003. Unit sales of notebooks alone jumped by 105 per cent. For the EMEA region, Acer's growth was higher, at 131 per cent for notebooks and 79.8 per cent overall.
This elevated it to second place in EMEA, with 19.5 per cent of the notebook market, behind HP's 21.4 per cent.
"It's phenomenal growth," said Context analyst James Bates.
"It has a formula that's working well, made up of feature-rich products at competitive prices; dealers like selling them. Acer is selling mainly to the strong SME arena and consumers, but considering there's so little Acer presence in the corporate sector, it's quite a feat it made it to the top."
Acer has been very active in the channel and committing itself to selling everything through distributors and resellers has started to pay off in the past 18 months.
Bates added: "Acer has good penetration in the channel and good supply. Its sharp pricing is really important now because competitive pricing is the biggest driver for business, according to dealers."
John Turner, business manager at distributor Midwich, agreed that Acer's channel strategy has played a key role.
"Just look at HP. The question about whether it is direct or indirect has caused a lot of turmoil in the channel. Acer's message is the opposite, with a simple 'from factory to the channel' approach. Thanks to low overheads and product quality, the margins dealers can make are also better," Turner said.
"Our Acer business has grown by 85 per cent from this quarter on the same period last year. It has its finger on the pulse of the mass market."
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