Commercial Channel Sales Remain Flat for Third Consecutive Year, According to NPD

PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, JANUARY 28, 2013 - Sales through U.S. distributors and commercial resellers remained flat for the third consecutive year at approximately $ 58.5 billion according to global information company The NPD Group’s Distributor Track and Reseller Tracking Services. Since Q2 2011, only one quarter experienced measurable sales growth.

Nearly three-quarters (72.5 percent) of all commercial sales revenue came from the top five revenue categories, a number that has been essentially unchanged over the last 4 years.  Computers and servers, consumables, networking equipment, software, and storage products were the top five revenue drivers in 2012. 

Yearly Revenue Change – Top Five Revenue Categories

  2010 2011 2012
Computers & Servers 25.3% 3.9% -4.3%
Consumables -2.1% -0.4% -2.4%
Network Equipment 24.2% 1.3% 1.7%
Software 13.0% -3.7% -2.7%
Storage Hardware 14.6% 4.8% 10.4%

Source: The NPD Group/Distributor Track and Reseller Tracking Services

“Small and medium business decision makers haven’t stopped spending, but their focus is on productive and necessary IT spending, not general technology improvement,” said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD.  “The trend we watched duringthe first three quarters of 2012 through our SMB Technology Monitor, was that SMBs planned to spend more in the coming three months on the necessities, like networking, where sales increased 2 percent and storage where spending soared by more than 10 percent.”

Sales through specific channels, such as distribution or resellers, showed little deviation from the overall market trend.  Distribution sales accounted for 62 percent of dollars and grew less than 1 percent in2012.  Reseller sales were 38 percent of the volume and fell slightly more than 1 percent.  These represented slight variations from 2011 when distribution sales fell 1 percent and reseller sales rose 4 percent.

Total PC sales fell 7 percent in units in 2012, while average prices jumped nearly $35 to $764.  Desktop unit sales rose 4 percent from 2011 with Windows volumes increasing 5.2 percent. Notebook sales overall fell 13 percent as Windows notebooks dropped 16 percent and Mac sales rose 15 percent.  Windows 8 accounted for 18 percent of notebook sales and 5 percent of desktop sales through commercial channels in Q4.  Storage hardware growth was propelled by a more than 50 percent increase in solid state drive sales and strong growth in storage systems, such as network attached storage, where sales revenue increased 13.5 percent.

 “Steady demand for technology products through commercial and distribution sales channels is likely to continue in 2013,” said Baker.  While significant overall sales growth does not seem to be on the horizon, the pockets of strong business demand, such as storage and networking continue to offset the overall sluggishness in the marketplace.”

Press Contact

David Riley

The NPD Group, Inc.
900 West Shore Road
Port Washington, NY 11050

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