Vendor and channel players alike gathered at Sydney's swanky Establishment recently for the annual ARN IT Industry Lunch.
The afternoon was a chance for all concerned to enjoy fine food and a glass or two of wine while catching up with the latest industry gossip and listening to industry research from market analyst, GfK.
Managing director, Gary Lamb, presented some fascinating information on trends in the retail channel.
Guests were informed that mass merchants were now deriving about 70 per cent of IT revenues from hardware, compared to just 55 per cent a year ago.
Notebook sales were experiencing massive growth, he said, fuelled largely by a drastic drop in prices that had seen prices dip below $1000 for the first time earlier this year.
About 60 per cent of these were now being sold through retail channels, a number that was still on the rise.
Taking a peak into the future, Lamb warned of the rise and rise of a whole new IT channel that had taken hold in Europe but was still in its infancy here - supermarket chains.
A quarter of all notebooks in Germany, for example, were now being bought in Aldi. In Australia, the German discounter was slowly being joined by local outlets such as Big W.
ARN publisher, Susan Searle, opened proceedings by reminding guests of some of the biggest channel news stories to have broken during the past 12 months.
Don Kennedy, the managing director of IDG Australia, ARN's parent company, concluded the lunch with an outline of new reader services to be launched this year.