PC shipment levels will either drop or level off over the coming years, leaving the channel facing an uncertain future, according to two market analysts.
A recent Gartner report claimed PC shipments are experiencing slow growth rates and reduced profit margins, which will result in three major PC vendors leaving the market by 2007.
A similar study by Context also predicted a grim future and claimed UK sales growth rates in October had fallen by 4.1 per cent to just 11.9 per cent.
Context's report also showed slow growth for notebook PCs, with a sequential fall of 2.1 per cent in the UK during October.
The analyst told CRN that if the downturn continues then vendors using the channel as their single route to market could be the hardest hit.
"A direct strategy is very difficult. The competition is tough," said Jeremy Davies, senior partner at Context.
"Any downturn won't cause the large vendors to go out of business, but some local vendors will get squeezed. Box-shifter resellers will be hit the hardest."
Although another Context report claimed Toshiba lost market share in the corporate reseller market, it also claimed its A60 range rocketed into first position in terms of sales in September.
Neil Bramley, business channel manager at Toshiba, said overall sales are good and claimed any drop is just a "blip". However, he warned resellers should be wary of some vendor's promises.
"Many vendors are beginning to take a more direct approach. It's a concern for the channel," he said.
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