VARs top customer shopping list for single-function printers

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Value-added resellers have emerged as the preferred choice of channel for Australian business customers seeking to purchase single-function printers.

Value-added resellers (VARs) have emerged as the preferred choice of channel for Australian business customers seeking to purchase single-function printers.

IDC found in a new survey on buying behaviour and trends in Australian businesses with 250 or more staff that some 66 percent of the respondents claimed to prefer buying from VARs than any other channel partner.

Michael Sager, hardware market analyst at IDC, said the result was somewhat surprising, considering that single-function printers might just as easily be bought direct from vendors.

"Technically, single-function printers might be expected to be bought from vendors, especially now that [companies such as] Dell have their own brand of printers," he pointed out.

Instead, Australian businesses with 250 or more staff surveyed said they preferred to buy single-function inkjet and laser printers from VARs, he said.

The result might be due to the dynamics of the Australian market, Sager said, which was "much more" channel-driven than North America.

"People here like purchasing things from VARs. In the US, they're more likely to buy directly from vendors," he said.

Sager suggested Australian businesspeople might be more relationship-oriented than American buyers. Meanwhile, VARs could also often provide bundling and integration of different products on demand.

"Single-function printers might have a higher propensity to being bought with other devices," he said.

IDC's buying behaviour and trends survey had also asked about preferred brands in that market, he said.
 
"There were questions in there that said, 'of all the printers you had, how many vendors were there and which were they?'" Sager said.

The survey had also asked which vendors the respondents planned to purchase single-function printers from in the next 12 months, he said.

As a result, HP and Kyocera had surfaced as the preferred single-function printer brands among businesses of that size, he said.

Conversely, brand preference when it came to multi-function printers was spread evenly across the main vendors, Sager said.

He had no data that suggested why HP and Kyocera were so popular in the single-function printer market. "Until I sit down and have a focus group, I can't tell you," Sager said.

However, single-function printers were "pretty much" at saturation point. The pie wasn't getting any bigger so sales growth would only come from slicing it different ways, Sager said.

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