'Anything' related to remote working is a winner for Euro disties, but classic enterprise hardware? That's another story

Official stats reach Vulture Towers


Tech distributors' sales jumped 9.5 per cent to €5.9bn in Western Europe for the four weeks ended 22 March with a raft of lines including virtualization and database software helping to swell their coffers, as well as kit needed to help employers switch their workforce to homeworking.

According to Context, multiple areas did well in those four weeks, from webcams (up 127 per cent year on year) to continued demand for headsets, headphones and microphones (up 76 per cent). Business and consumer notebooks were up 55 per cent and 44 per cent respectively.

Software also saw a big expansion including database management, (60 per cent), virtualization (55 per cent), dev tools (47 per cent), security (40 per cent), and graphic & design software (17 per cent).

Docking stations, monitors, keyboards and keypads also saw strong double-digit gains, as did office apps and data management wares.

"We are seeing a supply chain that is still operating through the heroics of distribution," Adam Simon, Context's global managing director, told The Register. "There is still demand for anything related to remote working."

Computacenter CEO Mike Norris told us last month that laptops were flying out of the door, as were monitors, VPNs and wireless LANS. Demand for online collaboration tools has rocketed too.

The Reg doesn't want to talk the market down, but there is a flip side to the boom occurring in parts of the industry: other classic corners of tech are starting to sink amid the pandemic, according to Context's numbers.

Terminals, thin clients and point-of-sale systems tanked in the four weeks to 22 March, versus the same period a year ago. Other areas to see downward motion included electronics, down 22 per cent, which is hardly surprising as retailers have closed their doors and don't have the same online presence as Amazon.

Other parts of enterprise tech were feeling the pinch too, with data centre networking and security down 17 per cent, servers down 15 per cent, scanners down 12 per cent, and removable storage down 11 per cent.

The word in the supply chain, according to Simon, is that product levels in the channel are starting to run dry due to the earlier disruption to manufacturing in China as parts of the country went into lockdown over the Chinese New Year to combat the novel coronavirus.

Distributors we previously spoke to said shortages in areas such as notebooks will start to feel this pressure from this month and the next.

"There's limited container space for products shipping from China and increased border controls in Europe have contributed to lengthening product journeys," said Simon.

Talk among the wholesalers, he added, is that Western Europe could see a fall in product sales of between 20 to 30 per cent this year, "potentially higher" if efforts to contain the virus continue to hamper business. Of course, the reality is that those forecasts can improve or deteriorate.

Given the nature of this crisis, one area seems destined to continue expanding in 2020: the cloud. According to IDC last week, cloud IT infrastructure spending is forecast to rise 3.6 per cent to $69.2bn in 2020, but non-cloud IT infrastructure spending is estimated to decline 9.2 per cent to $61.4bn.

The dynamics of coronavirus could accelerate the switch to newer technologies than would have otherwise been the case. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • Venezuelan cardiologist charged with designing and selling ransomware
    If his surgery was as bad as his opsec, this chap has caused a lot of trouble

    The US Attorney’s Office has charged a 55-year-old cardiologist with creating and selling ransomware and profiting from revenue-share agreements with criminals who deployed his product.

    A complaint [PDF] filed on May 16th in the US District Court, Eastern District of New York, alleges that Moises Luis Zagala Gonzalez – aka “Nosophoros,” “Aesculapius” and “Nebuchadnezzar” – created a ransomware builder known as “Thanos”, and ransomware named “Jigsaw v. 2”.

    The self-taught coder and qualified cardiologist advertised the ransomware in dark corners of the web, then licensed it ransomware to crooks for either $500 or $800 a month. He also ran an affiliate network that offered the chance to run Thanos to build custom ransomware, in return for a share of profits.

    Continue reading
  • China reveals its top five sources of online fraud
    'Brushing' tops the list, as quantity of forbidden content continue to rise

    China’s Ministry of Public Security has revealed the five most prevalent types of fraud perpetrated online or by phone.

    The e-commerce scam known as “brushing” topped the list and accounted for around a third of all internet fraud activity in China. Brushing sees victims lured into making payment for goods that may not be delivered, or are only delivered after buyers are asked to perform several other online tasks that may include downloading dodgy apps and/or establishing e-commerce profiles. Victims can find themselves being asked to pay more than the original price for goods, or denied promised rebates.

    Brushing has also seen e-commerce providers send victims small items they never ordered, using profiles victims did not create or control. Dodgy vendors use that tactic to then write themselves glowing product reviews that increase their visibility on marketplace platforms.

    Continue reading
  • Oracle really does owe HPE $3b after Supreme Court snub
    Appeal petition as doomed as the Itanic chips at the heart of decade-long drama

    The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear Oracle's appeal to overturn a ruling ordering the IT giant to pay $3 billion in damages for violating a decades-old contract agreement.

    In June 2011, back when HPE had not yet split from HP, the biz sued Oracle for refusing to add Itanium support to its database software. HP alleged Big Red had violated a contract agreement by not doing so, though Oracle claimed it explicitly refused requests to support Intel's Itanium processors at the time.

    A lengthy legal battle ensued. Oracle was ordered to cough up $3 billion in damages in a jury trial, and appealed the decision all the way to the highest judges in America. Now, the Supreme Court has declined its petition.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022