Distree grows on retailers
More than 1000 people gathered in Monaco last week for the 10th edition of Distree EMEA channel event. This new edition broke all records, with more than 5300 pre-arranged meetings between on one side 125 vendors and, on the other side, 400 distributors and about 100 retailers and etailers for a global turnover of almost $50B. Everything could have been distrubed by the snow or the strikes in French airports: "if a few distributors have been blocked by snow in their country, the strike blocked no-one. We have registered a few late arrivals on the first day of the event, for a lower global cancelation rate than any previous year", says Farouk Hemraj, the CEO of Distree Event.
Compared to the previous years, this edition show a higher number of visiting etailers and retailers, and a decrease in the number of invited distributors: "our exhibitors wish to meet more retailers, as there are no event like French Medpi in most European countries. On the middle term, we plan a 50-50 split between retailers and distributors", explains Farouk Hemraj who cannot, for sleeping capacity reasons keep the same number of invited distributors, despite a high demand from them. Because of that, Farouk plans to invite next year about 300 distributors and about 200 retailers and etailers.
We have noticed this year a higher number of distributors exhibiting. These find in Distree a good way to attack neighbouring markets or to push their own brands, which can be a good way to counter the crisis. Among them, French broadliner MCA, who owns H&B and Sega gaming console brands, was more specifically targeting French speaking Africa and Maghreb, thanks to partnerships with HP and Toshiba. Lithuanian Acme, French mobility specialist Ascendeo or Polish companies Impakt et Modecom were also among the other distributors to exhibit in this edition. Distree is by the way considered more and more as an important event to help companies to export, and several countries, like Poland, allocate a financial help to their national companies to allow them to exhibit there. It is funny to notice that French UbiFrance does not help French companies exhibiting on Distree, stating that the event is in France and thus "cannot be considered as an investment for export". It is obvious that they never visited it, just to see how wrong they are.
Like every year, Distree is an important occasion to discover innovative products, which are seldom visible in traditional events. Russian company Lomond has for example launched there the first 60ppm color inkjet printer on Memjet technology base. This model, which targets the B2B market, should definitely shake up the laser market, at least as soon as an MFP is available, within the next months. It is immediately available through a few distributors in Europe, like Tekaef in Germany, Denco and Resource Media in Russia and through multiple small structures, half way between resellers, service provider and distributors. It should without doubt find its way through other major distributors in the coming months. The Boogie Board LCD writing tablet from American vendor Improv Electronics, which is available in France though Avesta and SCP Technology, in Germany through NTP or in the UK through GEM or, again, NTP, aims to replace paper or chalk at school, with a much lower TCO than these traditional solutions. The UPS from Turkish vendor Tuncmatik bring the signal of a return of design in this market, after the bankrupcy of the few Italian vendors who bet on this, some years ago. Taiwanese vendor Choicee was exhibiting USB keys and cases for mobile phones and tablets under Ed Hardy, QEE or Lady Gaga licences. Dutch vendor Gembird was showcasing the first epaper printer, under its Energenie brand. Used as a printer, it sends any document on an ebook, where it can be viewed and annotated, before being download back on the PC as a certified PDF. Finally, the i-FlashDrive of taiwanese vendor Sanho Digital has won the "60 seconds to convince" award. It is true that this addon for Apple mobile devices is a needed answer to a crucial need: it allows users to transfer on USB key and back any document from the Apple device (music, video, book, picture), without the need of any computer. It is already available through some distributors like Comeback in France since a few weeks, and should find its way in other countries very soon. Its only drawback is its price, from 75€ (8Gb) to 145€ (32Gb) which is a bit high for a true broad success.
Questioned about the growing competition of ERS (European Retail Summit) event, whose second edition is organized in May in Budapest by Levin Consulting, Farouk Hemraj keeps confident with Distree's success: "for this kind of event, it is utterly important to have an important number of exhibitors, which helps to attract more visitors. On this point of view, ERS is still far behind Distree, albeit it is a competitor we will keep an eye on."
Distree has built on its EMEA success to enter last year on the Latin-American market, with a first successful Distree LATAM in Brasil a few months ago: "we gathered about 50 exhibitors who entered with us on this new territory, including Intel, Microsoft or many French vendors like Port, Infosec, Dane-Elec or Urban Factory. 200 visitors (about 2/3 of distributors and 1/3 of retailers) have been invited. The exhibitors have shown no regret, as some of them have immediately signed first distribution partnership in this region", adds Farouk Hemraj who already plans a 40%-growth for the second edition, which will take take place in Buenos Aires in September 2012. This second edition should have a free highway in front of it, as there are almost no local competition, beside some events organized by local distributors. The eleventh edition of Distree EMEA should take place next year in February in Monaco.
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