'We are seeing a race to the bottom over laptop pricing, but growth in peripherals' - GfK interview - PC Retail

'We are seeing a race to the bottom over laptop pricing, but growth in peripherals' - GfK interview

PCR speaks to Carl West about recent market trends ahead of his talk at Boot Camp 2016
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PCR speaks to GfK supply chain director Carl West about recent market trends ahead of his talk at Boot Camp 2016.

Please give us a teaser as to what you’ll be discussing at PCR Boot Camp...

Once again we will show the state of the nation with regards to tech products, also highlighting specific trend changes.

We will also focus on the new opportunities to be had around technology, the need to be mobile optimised and how to identify the type of store you are and what you should be stocking. Do you serve the masses or the leading edge consumer?

What are your thoughts on the current state of the PC market in the UK?

Whilst we are seeing a race to the bottom regarding laptop pricing, we are seeing growth in peripheral areas again.

The challenge right now is keeping the shopping cart value up.

Commoditised electronics are showing good volume but where is the profit in that? Upsell, cross sell and package your items.

What products or services in particular have been doing well of late?

Gaming, smarthome, wearables and drones are showing great growth, but wraparound services like site survey, tech support, installation and cloud should not be overlooked.

 What could be some of the most successful categories this year?

I don’t want to give too much away, and as always, different people focus on different areas. However, generally we are seeing increasing durables spend and economy growth, but with the summer around the corner it will be interesting to see how resilient tech spend will be.

Please tell us a bit about your background.

I started out in retail working for Currys, then got head hunted and ended up in distribution for quite a few years. Distribution, for me, was launching new brands into the UK retail sector. The retail landscape was quite different then!

My next move was with a vendor selling memory and storage but then left to be involved in a software start-up. After selling software into retail and SME, I moved to another start-up selling Telehealth into NHS and Primary Care Trusts.

When GfK came along, I had sold to and visited many countries around the world. My time at GfK (eight years) has been a great experience and as many distributors, retailers and vendors know, I am passionate about enabling the channel. Getting help for your business is like dating; you can reach out but unless you make a real effort and open yourself to the process, results are often nice but not fulfilling.

What do you think of events like PCR Boot Camp that bring retailers, vendors and distributors together?

We have supported the PCR Boot Camp for many years and it is a great vehicle for channel engagement. You get back what you put in to these events.

There have been many great headliners speaking at PCR, all highlighting opportunities and advice - but as always it is not just what you hear, it is the actions you take.

GfK won the analyst award at the 2016 PCR Awards earlier this month. Can you reflect on that?

We would like to repeat our thanks for the PCR Award this year. We saw a great deal of friends in the audience and we were taken back by so many people congratulating us on the night.

GfK engages with many companies but it is very rare to have so many in one room.

Don't miss Carl's talk at the 2016 PCR Boot Camp IT conference and expo in May.

It's FREE for PC retailers and resellers to attend - for more info or to register to attend, visit www.pcrbootcamp.com

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