2018 was the first calendar year that had witnessed GST for the complete year. Some of the key trends in the channel included the partners across India refraining themselves from purchasing from the national distributors. On the channel front, here are some of top channel trends shared by the channel partners across India.
Champakraj Gurjar, President, Federation of IT Industries Association (FAIITA) :
This year, FAIITA has officially given advisory for all the associations across India to refrain purchase products from OEMs who ignore the traditional channel. I think this is the biggest measure taken by the channel fraternity as a whole this year. Licencing and other certifications are hurdling a ton in the market. Bigger giants are getting advantages of this while the small players are not able to manufacture locally.
Mahesh Kurup, Ozone Computers, Coimbatore:
The dealers felt the pricing challenge not only between the conventional and online trade but also between markets. When I mean markets, it is both the capital as well as the upcountry markets, and bigger markets and smaller markets. The advantage for the OEM to prefer conventional distribution model is the vendor will have control or a hold on the market in terms of product, pricing, distribution and more which might not be available online. Another challenge and trend which we witnessed in the 2018 is the shrinking marketing budgets of the vendors towards the conventional channel. The vendors are ready to drive the products. This I see especially in the PC component business drives on solutions and new products. When the traditional business becomes transactional, it automatically paves way for strengthening online business.
Awanindra Singh, Computer Land, New Delhi
The current trend what I notice is the change in the mindset of channel partners and their approach towards the customers. The dealer fraternity had started understanding the fact that there is something beyond price which can thrill the customer. Thus many retailers had started trying many things that will make the customer walk-in to the shops. The retailers are in a strong feeling that once the customer steps in the premises of the retailer, the conversion ratio is high. Of course, as a strong impact from the online sales, many retailers had started understanding the importance of value-addition and post-sale support. Retailers these days understand the product completely and more than selling a product, a retailer is now providing value addition to the customer in terms of educating them.
Arun Kumar Dey, Computer Professional, Cuttack
The biggest trend I noticed this year was the interaction with the government and channel partners came closer. Last year the channel partners made representation with their respective state and central governments. However, with the latest Government notification on the e-commerce is the big thing that had happened to the channel industry, in my point of view. Even though there has been a reaction from the governments for the past 4 years of struggle, according to me, this is the biggest blow for the unethical trade practice. However, according to me, this notification should immediately get reflected and should come as a law to ensure millions of small traders are protected.
Sudhakar TV, Lapis Technologies, Hyderabad
I see the biggest trend this year was the slash in the sale of networking products and increase in the CCTV and related products. Because, I remember, earlier, even small office wanted a networking connection and many were dependent on the cables and other routers. However, the increase in the institutional sales had made the customers reduce their dependence on channel partners. I hardly find organizations demanding a wired product. While everything has become wireless, and the customers also go with the networking products which are suggested by the ISPs. On the other hand, there is a huge number of CCTV players who had entered in the market. In 2018, the biggest trend we notice is that everyone is so cautious about being secured. Even small offices had started demanding for a CCTV and want surveillance in their organization.
Rakesh Jain, Parshva Enterprises, Indore
According to me, the key trend I witnessed in the year 2018 was the increase in the sale of refurbished materials. Earlier, the attitude of the customer towards the refurbished laptop or mobile was not positive. Now with the awareness had increased and everyone is ready to adopt that. The purchase trend is higher in the products which are of high-value. Instead of purchasing a new product for one Lakh rupees, a customer thinks there is no harm in buying the product which was refurb. However, the customers expect an established partner whom they can trust. With the sale of refurb materials increase, the need for having quality spare parts and post-sale comes hand in hand.