Channel's buoyant mood ebbs
Middle East IT channel players are slightly less confident in fourth-quarter growth prospects in 2014 than the same period last year, this year’s annual Channel Confidence Survey has revealed.
Currently in the fifth year, the Channel Confidence Survey quizzed regional channel stakeholders (vendors, distributors, systems integrators, resellers and retailers) on the state of health of the Middle East IT marketplace and asked them to make some predictions for the coming year.
Although the overall business climate in the regional channel continues to improve, there is still some elements of uncertainty especially in the PC segment, where sales of desktops and notebooks had stagnated for seven consecutive quarters before reporting growth in sales in the second quarter this year.
Research firm IDC recently reported that sales of PCs in the Middle East and Africa region grew 2.2% from Q2, 2013 to Q2, 2014, to total of 4.5m units shipped in the quarter. Both shipments of desktop and portable PCs grew, with desktops up 2.9% to 1.8m units, and portables up 1.7% to 2.7m units. Sales of ultra-slim notebooks and all-in-one PCs were both strong, the IDC report stated.
This year’s Channel Confidence Survey polled all channel stakeholders (vendors, distributors, systems integrators, resellers and retailers) in the regional channel to determine the state of business in the Middle East IT market.
The vast majority (81%) of survey participants represented either a vendor or a distributor. Some 86% of companies had offices in the UAE, 19% in Saudi Arabia, 15% in other GCC countries. A further 14% of respondents had operations in the Levant region and 11% in North Africa.
In the pages that follow, the 2014 Channel Confidence Survey highlights the key findings about the state of the regional channel business, what the outlook will be like in the fourth quarter of 2014 and the first half of next year with industry pundits’ comments and reaction to the survey findings.