Revenues sales in IT distribution across Europe could hit double figures year-on-year in the first three months of 2021 as strong demand continues from the end of last year, according to CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.
CONTEXT’s guidance for Q1 2021 is of channel sales growth between 6% and 12%, with a central case of 7.4%. This comes after distribution sales in the region hit a record €26.3 billion, and year-on-year growth of 10.2%, in Q4 2020.
The predictions are backed by several factors, notably a strong start to the year which has seen 22% year-on-year growth in week 2 to reach €1.8bn in revenue—figures not usually seen until later in the quarter.
Home working and studying categories such as mobile computing continue to drive this strong performance amidst ongoing lockdowns, with notebooks recording 70% sales growth in the first two weeks of the year. In fact, the mobile computing sector is predicted to record 25% growth in Q1 2021, according to CONTEXT’s guidance. Similar demand will drive a predicted 25% growth in monitors, 20% in computing components and 30% in computing accessories.
AV kit also continues to be in high demand and will grow at an estimated 30% year-on-year in Q1 2021, while new technologies like smart home products will increase 14% during the period.
Partly due to the same COVID-related reasons, sales of desktops (-16%), LFDs (-5%) and other displays (-7%) will dip in Q1.
Infrastructure and security (-2%) will also remain muted in the first quarter, although it’s expected to improve as 2021 goes on, despite some of this investment heading to the cloud.
“Everything we’re hearing is of continued strong demand in key technology areas supporting home working, such as mobile computing”, said CONTEXT Global MD Adam Simon. “In fact, our guidance would have been even higher if distributors were able to access all the stock they needed to meet demand. One of the biggest challenges for the industry this year will become from the supply chain.”
As for the cloud, pure SaaS sales in the largest economies of Europe last year exceeded 2019 average monthly revenues by at least 20%. Well placed to meet the needs of remote workers, SaaS apps in areas like office productivity, security and network management are predicted to perform well in 2021.