Channel partners are thriving as IT vendors continue to move to "partner-first" to navigate a tough economy, says Canalys.

Christine Horton, Contributing Editor

October 4, 2023

2 Min Read
CEO Steve Brazier at Canalys Channels Forum EMEA 2023

CANALYS CHANNELS FORUM EMEA 2023 — More vendors will seek the help of channel partners to weather economic turbulence, according to Canalys CEO Steve Brazier.

Brazier (pictured above) pointed to the likes of Dell and IBM overhauling their go-to-market strategies drive business through the channel.

“I hope you spot the trend,” he told attendees at the Canalys Channels Forum in Barcelona, Spain, on Wednesday. “What does the channel do? The channel spans the market for vendors, and that’s mainly why you get signed up. But what do we see in these difficult economic times? It is cheaper to sell through the channel than to do it all yourself. And that’s why we will see more and more companies switch to the channel.”

Vendors, Distribution Struggle …

The Canalys Channels Forum is an opportunity for the firm to present its analysis of the health of the IT market, and the channel.

Canalys analyzed the financial results of the world’s biggest IT vendors and distributors and concluded they were down 4% globally.

“You see the real impact is includes the likes of Apple, Google and Amazon,” Brazier noted. “Distribution has had a tough time too, particularly in the volume space, down at 1%.”

However, Brazier said that some distributors focusing on cybersecurity, cloud and marketplaces were seeing more success. He noted that some in attendance at Canalys Channels Forum – Infinigate, Exclusive Networks, Prianto – are still growing in single or even double digits. But overall distribution [has] been impacted too.

Meanwhile, Channel Titans Post ‘Phenomenal’ Growth

Conversely, the CEO noted that the biggest channel partners are exceeding expectations for their growth.

“The likes of Computacenter, Softcat, Cancom, Bechtle and Atea have produced 15% growth during the first half this year. It’s absolutely phenomenal,” said Brazier. “Some of the reasons are growth in public sector [and] growth in military spending. Companies need to maintain their IT systems even if they’re not buying equipment — so professional services. We did also have a boost in the first half from the backlog of infrastructure from Dell, HPE [and] Cisco being fulfilled. And overall, the software business remains very strong. So the channel is doing incredibly well in what is a difficult situation.”

On how long the slowdown last, Brazier said it’s difficult to know. However, Canalys predicts growth again for vendors and distributors by the second quarter of 2024.

Canalys and Channel Futures are both owned by Informa.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Christine Horton or connect with her on LinkedIn.


About the Author(s)

Christine Horton

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Christine Horton writes about all kinds of technology from a business perspective. Specializing in the IT sales channel, she is a former editor and now regular contributor to leading channel and business publications. She has a particular focus on EMEA for Channel Futures.

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