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Tech Data's tablet triumph

Dominic Sacco
Tech Data's tablet triumph

Consumer electronics and strategy opportunities director Mark Glasspool tells PCR how Tech Data is helping customers make more money from tablets across every market segment…

Having revamped its tablet strategy, the distributor is seeing an upturn in demand and expects sales to grow further. 

Some 270 million tablets are expected to be sold across the globe this year – up 38.6 per cent over 2013 according to Gartner.

While desktops and notebooks are only due to suffer a small single digit decline, there can be no denying that the computer market is evolving.

Distributor Tech Data UK is changing along with it, having renamed itself from C2000, acquired SDG and grown its own collection of specialists: Azlan (enterprise), Tech Data Mobile (mobility), Maverick (AV) and Datech (design software).

Now Tech Data is tweaking its approach to tablets with a single message.

“Tablets have emerged from all different parts of the market – traditional PC brands, components brands, mobile phone brands – and we had each individual business unit pulling together their own approach, with multiple messages to multiple customer segments,” Tech Data’s consumer electronics and strategy opportunities director Mark Glasspool told PCR.

“So what we’re doing is pulling it together in terms of one sales message. It’s about offering the best breadth of tablet product we can, whether that’s anything from Apple all the way to more traditional component vendors like Hannspree.

“It’s about making sure we’ve got all of those price points and technology requirements covered for every market segment, whether that’s retail, independent retail, SMB or corporate VAR markets.”

Glasspool’s team, along with head of tablet and CE development Adam Gay and consumer PC manager Kati Cheetham, are seeing an upturn in requests for working with them, predominantly from independents and tier two businesses, while the SMB segment is also showing ‘huge growth’.

“The reaction has been hugely positive,” explained Glasspool. “For our customers the breadth of products on offer from us is huge. To have one person who can go in and talk tablets from Tech Data has been massively beneficial.

“We’re seeing significant upturns in requests for working with us, and that’s rolling through quite nicely to the work we’re doing with our accessories team as well – to make sure every tablet is clothed as it is sold through.

“The independent and tier two guys are really benefitting, because they can access a breadth of products they probably can’t from many other places.

“For us the SMB segment shows huge growth. We’re talking very high double digit growth, it’s our fastest growing tablet area, and that has continued if not accelerated into this year.”

 

TESTING TIMES?

Despite enormous growth in tablets over the past few years, average selling prices (ASPs) have fallen as more vendors and retailers compete with one another, and IDC forecasts tablet growth to slow this year from 51.6 per cent in 2013 to 19.4 per cent in 2014.

Additionally, some vendors have reported that tablets are eating into the keyboard market, with low and high-end keyboards prospering but mid-range products being most affected as consumers rely on their tablets’ built-in keyboards.

“We’re seeing something quite similar actually,” Glasspool said. “Our ASP has remained fairly constant but the split of that ASP is drifting quite dramatically from a low end and a high end.”

So does Tech Data expect the tablet market to become more complex and difficult to make money from?

“Every year when you move on, the year-on-year growth becomes more difficult because you probably don’t have a much bigger base compared to the previous year, but we fully anticipate the tablet market to grow further,” stated Glasspool.

“Our view would be that we’ll continue to see the market grow, with a healthy double digit percentage in terms of units and probably a lower double digit in terms of revenue growth. That’s what we’d expect and in many instances based on the share we’re seeing, that would be indicative of what the market is doing, as far as we can see.

“From a Tech Data perspective we’ve really started accelerating our consumer electronics business over the past few months, and we’re keen to be recognised as a go-to consumer electronics distributor for both vendors and customers.”


FACT FILE: Tech Data

Year established: 1974

Based: Hampshire

Contact: 01256 788 000

Website: www.techdata.co.uk

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Tags: Distribution, tablet, tablets, distributor, Interviews, tech data, Mark Glasspool

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