“May you live in interesting times” is how the ancient Chinese used to curse each other, and it’s been an interesting year indeed for the UK IT channel. Amongst political and economic turmoil, we’ve seen established retailers struggle and new competitors arrive on these shores. So once again we’ve compiled our annual survey to find out if the year has been a blessing or a curse…
The majority of respondents have seen more or less the same kind of performance that they winessed last year, with the smallest proportion enjoying better times. The good news is that last year’s survey saw the same amount of people saying that business had been worse. That’s good news, right?
Well, the VAT rate is set to rise to 20 per cent from early next month – a development that we’ve repeatedly heard will encourage people to spend more this Christmas. Although our charts are fairly evenly split, the majority of respondents felt positive about sales over the festive period.
A new year is a new beginning for just over half of our respondents this year. However, over a quarter of retailers are not confident about the year ahead, while a fifth just aren’t sure. Remember, collaboration works – membership in one of the trade organisations or buying groups can make life much easier.
It’s a close call but most respondents felt that the recession that ‘ended’ in late 2009 is still causing problems today. A close second place went to everybody’s favourite scrap dealers, the supermarkets – but at least they’re providing a steady stream of repair customers for the smaller retailers.
Yes, whether it’s been because of supermarkets selling poorly advised hardware or cash strapped consumers adopting a ‘make do and mend’ attitude, the fact is that repairs and services have been the best performing area for our readers, with laptops coming in a close second.
Aside from getting Steve Ballmer all hot under the collar, it would seem that most people aren’t too sure about what the cloud is going to do for the UK market. Perhaps it will be easier to call when BT finally gets around to deploying its fibreoptic network – if it’s not immediately oversubscribed…
Despite a massively successful film release and the kind of marketing campaigns that would make Steve Jobs jealous, most people are cynical about the potential for 3D. Maybe it’s the need for wearing silly glasses? Perhaps the glasses-less models in the pipeline will prove to be more convincing.
A solid 50 per cent of our readers felt that netbooks are safe from the meteoric rise of the – well, let’s face it – the iPad. Tablets have a specific role and that is lightweight web browsing with some basic functions thrown in. Yes, that’s the same as a netbook, but there’s a lot to be said for a good keyboard.
Having provided such a boon to independent retailers with their relatively low levels of expertise and customer service, the supermarkets are now aiming to provide repair and support services. Is price point enough to ensure return customers? No, say the overwhelming majority of our readers.
Half of our readers are looking to push their business forward in 2011, and relishing the opportunity to do so. Some are eagerly awaiting new product releases, while just under a fifth of respondents fell in to the ‘other’ category with a very British answer of “nothing”.