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Context: Majority of channel optimistic about year ahead

Market watchers have quizzed thousands of resellers across the globe and found that most are feeling good about 2022

The fourth quarter is traditionally the busiest time for the channel, as well as a moment when many start to look ahead and express some thoughts about the year ahead.

Market watchers Context have been doing the same, quizzing 7,000 global partners to pull together its ChannelWatch study. The headline findings show that two-thirds of resellers expect improved performance next year after having successfully got through the worst of the pandemic.

Even with the pandemic continuing to cause concerns, component shortages hitting supplies and inflation rising, the general sentiment from resellers across the world was that the channel had managed to navigate through the past year and things were set to get better.

The report found that the majority of resellers (66%) saw their turnover rise, a third stayed the same and more than a quarter said that the business they placed with their main distribution partner had increased.

Looking ahead, a similar percentage (67%) expect 2022 to see further improvements to business, with the channel partners identifying business services, energy and manufacturing as the vertical markets that would be driving growth opportunities.

Several market features that have been driven by the pandemic will remain going into next year, with demand for mobiles, homeworking solutions and smart home tech some of the product areas where revenue is expected to come from.

The everything-as-a-service option, which has been promoted heavily this year from vendors and supported by distribution, is also resonating with customers – 94% of those quizzed by Context felt that it would continue to be a big area for expansion next year.

Another impact of the pandemic has been to accelerate digital transformation projects, and many resellers revealed to Context that they will be taking these into 2022.

“A great deal of the optimism displayed by global resellers in our latest study comes from major end-customer investments in digital transformation driven by Covid-19,” said Context’s global managing director Adam Simon.

“It’s reassuring to see their outlook for the next 12 months so positive, but to ensure opportunities aren’t missed, closer collaboration will be necessary with distributors to deliver the cloud services businesses are crying out for,” he added.

Context has a relationship with the Global Technology Distribution Council and will be discussing the report at the GTDC Forum in November. Ahead of that, it shared some insights into what resellers wanted from their partners at that level of the channel, such as cloud, marketing, sales and training and education.

Context is not alone in describing the mood in the channel as “optimistic”, with Agilitas IT Solutions sharing regular Channel confidence updates through the year that has echoed that view. In addition, the recent Canalys Channel Forum saw analyst house president and CEO Steve Brazier proclaim that people working in tech had made the best decision and would benefit from that for at least the next decade.

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