Toshiba issues channel challenge: ignore direct dealers

Toshiba issues channel challenge: ignore direct dealers

If you don't like your vendors dealing direct, stop selling their products. That was the challenge issued by Toshiba general manager Ralph Stadus to resellers at the vendor's annual channel conference recently in the Northern Territory.

Toshiba has had a record year -- in July, the vendor posted record sales of $42 million for the month and Stadus believes this is due to the support its products receive from its distributors and resellers.

"I think they are sick of vendors saying they are channel-orientated, and then going out and doing business direct," he said. "It's been a long time since someone has said thank you to the channel."

The notebook sector has been the bright spot of the PC market this year. July's 13,988 units beat Toshiba's previous record set in May 2000, when GST compliance buying was at its peak. Despite recent Inform reports that indicate notebook sales for June were down on previous months, Toshiba is more than happy with the way things are going.

"Even June figures were strong," Stadus said. "We have done more than 10,000 units every month since January."

A combination of buying cycles and demographic change is responsible for the strong market, he said, predicting the penetration of notebook computers could reach 50 per cent.

"These days people are beginning to stretch desktop replacement out to four or five years, but they are not doing this when buying a notebook because of the advances in functionality.

"Also, there have been significant long-term trends in demographics. In 1997, there were around 550,000 home-based businesses in Australia; last year there were 778,000."

Stadus attributes this change to the number of people who have set up their own operations on the back of business "downsizing". "Their businesses are based from home, but they are outside consulting and they equip themselves with a notebook.

"There is no functional penalty in buying a notebook. In fact, there's an upside because you can get additional connectivity. But the price penalty has also become smaller and we are finding people are buying, even if they are not highly mobile."

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