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Delicate issue sparks frustration in some and indifference in others, says PCR editor Dominic Sacco

BLOG: Grey stock divides opinion

Our big feature this month looks at the contentious ‘grey market’.

I’ve been told that sourcing cheap stock through ‘unofficial’ means has been a thorn in the channel for years and isn’t going away anytime soon, but it’s still clearly a delicate issue that sparks frustration in some and indifference in others. 

My aim wasn’t to ask the tired question of whether it’s right or wrong, but to instead explore the effect it has on the industry and how it’s still making businesses stop and think – something I’m sure those of you left with non-returnable stock did following KMS Components’ liquidation earlier this year.

For some, ordering a non-EU hard drive from an unofficial distributor or trader priced 20 per cent cheaper than the official UK version is normal – for others it’s unthinkable. Some distributors like Northamber only trade with official stock so their customers can return it if there’s a fault, as vendors may refuse to replace goods that were intended for outside territories. 

Grey stock also eats into official distributors’ profit margins. On the flip side, taking the official-only route could seriously impact the bottom line for many resellers. It all comes down to money, with vendors seemingly caught in the middle. Some may turn a blind eye to the grey market, but others are making a valiant effort to eradicate it through tighter restrictions and even fines. 

You might be reading this and thinking ‘who cares’ or crumpling up your face in disgust – either way we’d like to hear your views. You can get in touch by emailing me here.

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