The traditional PC channel is under threat from manufacturers wantingting direct sales into structures. to sell direct, although suppliers are not making this transition as fast as corporates want them to.
According to a report from research company IDC, the majority of suppliers are not being aggressive enough in incorporating direct sales into their structures, because they fear upsetting channel partners. This comes as a result of pressure from users demanding a direct relationship with suppliers.
The corporate requirement for cheaper kits has fuelled this shift from channel sales to direct, as customers believe there is a price advantage from bypassing resellers.
IDC analyst Terry Ernest-Jones commented: 'Manufacturers must get closer to users so they can monitor their wants and needs. We have to realise that the corporate market has become saturated in Europe, particularly in the northern territories like Sweden. The corporate market has become replacement oriented.'
Consumers will follow corporates and begin to buy direct from manufacturers.
He said: 'The consumer market may follow this corporate trend as customers gain confidence and lose dependency on the advice and guidance normally given to them by resellers.'
Internet sales make up a growing part of direct sales but are not the main method. As more people access the Web this trend will change, according to IDC.
Another trend it foresaw was the network computer - the low cost, cut-down alternative to a PC. 'The NC is about half the price of the PC and breaks up the dominance of Wintel,' said Jones. This could affect the channel's margins and is appropriate for direct and Web sales.
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