Every December, ARN hosts an industry lunch to thank advertisers for their continued support. This year's event, held at The Establishment in Sydney last week, saw about 100 people celebrate our 15 years of helping to make the channel more successful.
Although we were in celebratory mood, GfK Australia managing director, Gary Lamb, gave a sobering keynote assessing industry trends. For example, the value of IT hardware sales - which includes PCs, printers, MFDs, third-party monitors, scanners and PDAs - fell from about $4.2 billion in 2002 to about $2.7 billion last year. An annual projection based on the six months to June sees that figure dip below $2.5 billion this year.
While the retail market has been solid during that four-year period, showing a slight increase in dollar value, the decline in corporate spending has been staggering. It topped $3 billion in 2002 but is expected to register little more than a third of that total this year. In the retail market, notebooks are far and away the success story with a projected value of $791 million. This would represent annual growth of 46 per cent. The success of consumer electronics retailers in technology categories is a major concern for the IT channel.
The CE channel accounted for about half of notebook sales in the first six months of 2005 but that number reached almost two-thirds in the same period this year. Only about one in five was purchased through an IT reseller.
There has been a lot of talk in recent years about which channel would gain most from the convergence of IT and CE. It seems the jury has returned a verdict and it isn't one the IT channel will be celebrating.
ARN has challenges of its own as the publishing market makes its transition to an increasingly online model. Milestones like the anniversary we celebrated this year are always a time for reflection, but they are also a time for looking to the future and we will be making some changes in the New Year as we look to improve the services we offer you. First up will be a revamped website that continues to bring you the best local news coverage. The biggest changes will be a significant rise in the number of product reviews as well as a broader selection of industry news, features and opinions from home and abroad.
We will be bringing you multimedia content, starting with a video series called Channel Chat that will debut in February. This weekly show will see us talking to resellers and distributors about real industry issues that affect your business.
You can also expect to see more special publications and round table discussions from us in 2007. In order to drive these changes, I have taken up a new role as editorial director and handed control of weekly production to our deputy editor, Nadia Cameron. So please direct all news enquiries her way and feel free to drop me a line to discuss how the new services we are launching can help your business be more successful.
Brian Corrigan is editorial director of ARN. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org