'Big five' lose marketshare, CRN Top Distributors 2022 finds

Digging into the trends that define the channel's middle tier...

Doug Woodburn
clock • 2 min read
'Big five' lose marketshare, CRN Top Distributors 2022 finds

By the admission of many of the MDs we interviewed, IT distribution has hit a rough patch over the last 12 months.

According to CRN Top Distributors 2022, the top 45 UK distributors on our radar saw revenues inch up 0.8 per cent to £13.1bn in their latest years on record.

The report represents CRN's most comprehensive attempt yet to map the UK distribution skyline, and shine a light on the trends impacting the channel's middle tier.

The 45 profiles can be read here (45-31), here (30-16) and here (15-1), with the full report - available exclusively to CRN Essential subscribers here - containing extra comment and analysis.

Having registered collective growth of 7.6 per cent the previous year, distributors crashed back down to earth in the latest numbers.

And in a reversal of fortunes, the ‘big five' (Westcoast, Tech Data, Exertis, Ingram and Arrow ECS) saw their UK distribution marketshare fall from 77 to 73 per cent. Most notably, Exertis' UK revenues shrank by more than a fifth in its year to 31 March 2022 as it battled reduced demand for consumer products as the pandemic eased.

CRN Top Distributors 2022 sees distribution MDs take on a range of topics, including their growth aspirations, emerging technology tips and most-respected peers.

They were divided over how long the chip crisis will drag on, with some expecting shortages to normalise by the end of the year and others resigned to at least another year of disruption.

New kids on the block

This year's report has a particular emphasis on those next-generation VADs and aggregators looking to shake up the status quo.

And not all the young upstarts we spoke to - including Distology (whose CEO, Hayley Roberts, is pictured above), Ethos Technology and Pax8 - are exactly deferential to the big incumbents.

Although distributors are braced for a tough period as the UK lurches into a recession, many remain upbeat about the ability of the sector to evolve again in the face of changing market forces.

"The entire market has been challenged, but historically, as vendors work their Opex envelop in economically difficult times, their reliance on distributors goes up - so I see a bright future," said DCC Technology (trading as Exertis) managing director Tim Griffin.

CRN Essential subscribers can view the report here.

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