UK IT channel ready for busy back to school period

Dominic Sacco looks at how the back to school market is still as important as ever.
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IT businesses are preparing for the annual back to school spending rush, as educational establishments close in July for the summer break.

While this has always been an important selling period in the IT trade calendar, this year it seems even more significant than usual.

Distributor Tech Data is providing more than 4,000 of its customers with additional credit (in excess of £150 million) to help them drive sales growth. It’s also providing extended payment terms to resellers targeting the education sector with audiovisual solutions, as schools upgrade their classrooms and infrastructure during the summer holidays.

The firm revealed that during the months of June and July, 50 per cent or more of orders from education are made up of products sold by Maverick, Tech Data’s specialist audiovisual business

Andy Gass, MD at Tech Data UK and Ireland, says: “Tech Data puts the customer first and this is a great example how we are doing more to help them grow their business. The extended payment terms will give public sector-focused resellers the chance to maximise their potential in the peak buying period for education.”

Elsewhere, Dell has signed an agreement with Currys/PC World, which will stock the Dell XPS, Inspiron and Alienware ranges in its stores “to bring further choice to customers, particularly in the lead up to the back to school period”.

In addition, system builder Zoostorm says it’s seeing a rise in demand for certain products from schools.

Mark Wallwork, head of B2B at Zoostorm, tells PCR: “A larger commitment from schools in ICT has led to increased interest in student admission and therefore larger class sizes.

“Larger class sizes demand quieter devices with smaller footprints and improved efficiency. This has led to a dramatic increase in ultra-small form factor systems with solid state drives, allowing suites to have more PCs in the same classroom with less noise and heat but with increased performance. 

“It has also breathed new life in to the traditional all-in-one PC systems with their increased power and efficiency, seeing a rise in units ordered year on year.

“The rise in the number of Academies is leading to a more varied curriculum. This is in turn leading to a rise in demand for higher powered systems capable of crunching large amounts of data and handling design work.”

He adds: “There is pressure on schools to use equipment for much longer than they used to. A few years ago they were happy with a three-year lifecycle but now they are on five-year or even seven-year refresh cycles so they want to see equipment that is built to last and has a warranty to match. 

“All in all, the future of IT in education is very exciting. The introduction of VR to the wider masses and the reduction in cost of the equipment, coupled with the commitment from vendors such as Intel to include VR ready CPUs across their stack, makes this a space to watch and get involved. Are virtual classrooms just around the corner? Time will tell.”

PCR's Sector Spotlight on Education - in association with Tech Data - is running throughout July 2016 - click here for more articles

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