Channel Will Benefit from Slowing Growth

Worldwide PC growth is slowing a bit, according to the latest numbers from research firm Gartner, but that should provide a real opportunity for the channel to capitalize on its strength in partnering. Gartner predicts a 10.9 percent growth rate this year, which is hardly shabby.

Still, it's below the 13.7 percent worldwide growth reached in 2007. Notebooks are a hot area, and emerging markets are positioned to spend more on technology purchases.This jives with recent predictions from Forrester Research, which in February predicted a 6 percent rise this year in global purchases of IT goods and services. All in all, it's not such a bad forecast, especially given the negative view in the U.S. about the general state of the economy this year.

A slowdown in growth rates could actually help the channel. Vendors such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Acer, Lenovo. Toshiba and others are likely to turn more toward strategic channel partnering to grow their market share. If overall growth begins to slow, vendors will focus on taking share from each other and the channel is a critical element to accomplishing that. (Dell has already discovered that direct sales alone won't cary the company to dominance.) Executives from Dell, HP and others talk a lot about the channel's importance, but as the market-share battle evolves this year. they'll need to replace the rhetoric with action.

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