Navigating through challenges


2016 was a challenging year for the industry and the New Year appears to be more so. What ushers hope though is the fact that the industry continues to bring in innovation across existing and newer categories. Further, companies that have been judicious in their strategies, have made gains over the year. Trigon is a case in point, as it continues to be one of the few distribution companies that have been weathering the challenges successfully, via strategic expansions into verticals and setting up operations in other countries over the past couple of years.

Arun Chawla, CEO, Trigon says, “Our overall strategies to go for regional expansion in a phased fashion has helped us to consolidate our business in the region and to take benefit of untapped potential in Retail & corporate segment. In 2012 we opened our Bahrain office followed by sales office in mid of 2015 in Riyadh in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Our Sales Office in Oman will be fully operational by mid of Feb 2017. In 2017-18 we have plans to open one or two more offices in the region, options are being worked out.”

Mobility, Digital Signage and health related wearable devices are among the verticals that Trigon identified and selected as their focus and the distributor claims that the results have been handsome. Digital Signage, Arun claims has in fact returned an outstanding growth rate of around 35%.

Arun adds, “The overall strategies were implemented at the right time and they have paid off well during the years. It has helped us further to look for complimentary products thus increasing our penetration further in the vertical segments and to remain more focused.”

The PC market has seen overall declines in the past couple of years but there have been some niches which have seen growth. That is likely to continue.

“The PC market is expected to stabilize in the coming year and we expect to see pockets of growth within key sub-segments. Gaming as a segment has been witnessing double digit growth and with the introduction of VR we expect this growth to continue. We continue to see growth in 2 in 1’s as more and more customers adopt these new and innovative form factors,” says Raghav Koorichh, CSB Category Manager- Middle East, Client Solutions at Dell.

He adds, “With both the hardware and software optimized for touch and systems becoming more performance oriented we see the demand for convertibles increasing further. Over the last one year convertibles have seen an average growth of 30% and we expect this trend to continue in 2017.”

The storage media market has continued to be strong with the ever growing appetite for more storage of different types. PNY Technologies has used the past year to stabilize its presence and reach with retailers in the region. The manufacturer is now hopeful that it is quite geared to take the leap in terms of regional growth in 2017.

Jerome Belan – CEO – PNY Technologies EMEA says, “2016 was very good for PNY in the region. Our first idea was to stabilize Imation brand enhance HP USB distribution and launch PNY brand on the market. We have overachieved all these targets as we have developed Imation sales and product portfolio; established HP USB distribution in new territories and implemented PNY products in key retailers in ME. We have also consolidated our professional distribution channel and have great expectation for next year. As a result we have grown our number of employees in our new Jebel Ali office.

The storage capacities of storage drives in market continues to climb and there is also a shift towards solid state drives.
“We see two big trends one is the capacity increase for 8 to 16 GB in average but also higher as we are offering up to 256GB USB and the second one is the OTG for Android and Apple. We will also see an increase of type C USB sales in Q2. Customers are adapting to SSD technology faster and it drives the demand for internal & external drives. Right from optical disc to SSD we offer a complete range of external storage to our customers,” adds Jerome.

Arun affirms that distributors with a carefully selected product portfolio can overcome challenges of slowdown and address real needs of customers through partners. Trigon will continue to consolidate via focus on its chosen verticals.

Arun adds, “We strongly believe that this is one of the main mantra to remain one step ahead always. It has helped us further to look for complimentary products thus increasing our penetration further in the vertical segments and to remain more focused.”
Trigon has strengthened its reach into specialized verticals via building focused business units.

He adds, “We will continue to remain focused in our core business of Channel, Retail, Corporate and Regional Business. We are further building Specialized Vertical Business Units to expand our business for Large Format Display, digital signage, Video Wall , Healthcare , Networking & Security , Mobility.

The smartphone continues to be a device that is seeing burgeoning traction in terms of penetration and especially with more frequent refresh rates than seen before in the case of any other product category. Around the smartphone, the accessories market has flourished and will continue to do so, giving several product manufacturers significant opportunities. PNY has solutions for the professional market where it sees a bright outlook but also bets strongly on the consumer segment where growth is being fueled by the smartphone category.

Jerome says, “The number one accessory of a Smartphone is a Micro SD and this is our core focus but we have launched a very unique accessory line up including Power Banks, Road accessories and cables. Our products always offer high specifications, unique design or technical features such as digital display or metal cables.”

He adds, “While we forecast strong growth for our professional solutions Quadro/Tesla and Server, also on the consumer side, our accessory line up is in line with market trends to use this devices more in more on the move. We still expect growth on the Power business as the Smartphone is the center of everyone’s life. The NAND shortage should also give PNY a great opportunity as being a worldwide player we can secure long term supply and support our customers,” adds Jerome.

Jerome also believes that after the first year spent in taking care of the launch and establishing their three brands on the shelves, they are now well poised to optimize partner revenues by offering new popular skus or unique feature products. He expresses confidence that with three brands, they are well placed to cover all segments.

While there are several segments that may have slowed down, companies that have been in the right segments, have managed to consolidate and accelerate. That could be the story for most the year ahead.