Peripherals and accessories have surpassed software as the second-largest computers and communications revenue category at mass-merchant retailer Harvey Norman, the division's general manager John Slack-Smith revealed yesterday.
Harvey Norman segments its computer and communications product range into four categories: hardware (desktops, servers, notebooks and printers), peripherals (and accessories), software and communications (phones and accessories).
According to Slack-Smith, booming laptop sales have ensured hardware maintains a runaway lead despite a marked slowing in the sale of desktop systems. However software, which is traditionally ranked number two in terms of revenue generation, has been overtaken by peripherals "over the course of calendar year 2001" and Slack-Smith expects it to continue growing with the launch of Microsoft's new Windows XP operating system.
"Harvey Norman's peripheral business has been growing at a rate of knots over the last two years," Slack-Smith said. "With the launch of [Windows] XP, I see it pulling away by as much as 5 per cent and that is big dollars.
"XP can add millions of dollars to revenue in a very short space of time on the peripheral's side of the business," Slack-Smith said.
Meanwhile, the recent introduction of mobile number portability (MNP) is expected to boost Harvey Norman's communications category but is yet to bedazzle the world, according to Slack-Smith.
"If anything, mobile number portability has been just fantastic for the number of people it has driven into our stores," he said. "The actual sales results have been okay, but they haven't set the world on fire."
Slack-Smith said Harvey Norman has also experienced a "significant" increase in phone traffic since the launch of MNP, but he believes the MNP experience for customers has so far "been average at best". This was attributed to compatibility difficulties between rival service providers.
Photograph: Harvey Norman's John Slack-Smith