Resellers are commonly buying up to 30 per cent of their stock from e-tailers such as Amazon, research from Context has claimed.
In a development it has described as a "major challenge" for IT distributors, its research of over 7,000 resellers in 14 countries found that a substantial minority of respondents were cutting them out of the loop when sourcing goods.
Some 30 per cent of respondents said they bought up to 10 per cent of their stock from e-tailers, 16 per cent between 10 and 20 per cent, and 14 per cent between 20 and 30 per cent, Context said.
The research comes a year after Amazon launched a B2B business in the UK.
Product availability was cited ahead of price as the most common reason resellers are flocking to e-tailers among the respondents, who were drawn from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the Baltics, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Spain and Turkey.
Context urged distributors to tackle the threat by focusing on value-added services, and solution-driven areas such as cloud, claiming this represents a $34bn (£26nm) opportunity for them.
"The transformation of IT distribution has been driven in large part by the growing presence of major e-tailers and changing reseller expectations. Smaller resellers especially feel increasingly that their interests are not being looked after by distributors, and they're flocking online as a result," said Adam Simon, global MD for Context.
"However, it's not time for distributors to hit the panic button. By focusing on things such as customer service, training and adding value in areas like the cloud and multiple new service areas, they can find ways to differentiate. Reassuringly, distributors continue to invest in infrastructure and skills to support their clients. But we may see price pressures push several players into finding economies of scale via acquisition over the coming year — potentially in APAC and LATAM."
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