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APAC consumer channel hungry for new brands

by Stuart Wilson, Wednesday 2 November 2016

The fourth annual DISTREE Asia-Pacific (APAC) consumer tech channel event takes place in Singapore from the 2-4th November. In the run-up to this year’s event, DISTREE APAC conducted a survey of distributors and retailers across the region during October.

The 2016 Asia-Pacific Consumer Tech Channel Survey, which included responses from distributors and retailers in 10 countries, revealed that 88% of respondents expected to increase their vendor portfolio in the next six months. Only 12% expected the number of brands they work with to decline in the same period.

Liam McSherry, Marketing Director at DISTREE Events, said: “The survey highlights the fact that a clear majority of distributors and retailers in APAC are actively looking to increase their vendor portfolio, with a particular focus on working with brands that are active in fast-growing product categories. All channel partners are keen to identify new brands that have a compelling consumer proposition and offer improved margin opportunities.”

The survey was conducted by Channel APAC, a Media Partner for DISTREE APAC 2016. This year’s DISTREE APAC provides participating consumer technology brands with the chance to hold pre-scheduled one-on-one meetings with senior executives and buyers from the region’s top distributors and retailers.

McSherry added: “The survey also revealed a degree of optimism in terms of the profitability of the consumer tech channel moving forwards. In total, 71% of respondents expected their profit margins to increase in the next six months, with just 21% expecting to see a reduction in margins.”

The survey also quizzed distributors and retailers on the product categories they believed represented the best growth opportunities for their business. Lifestyle tech was top, with mobile accessories in second place and gaming in third place in the ranking of the top three categories in terms of channel growth potential.

E-platforms influence market

The APAC consumer tech channel survey also highlighted trends by country, giving respondents an opportunity to share their views on their primary national market. One Australian retailer stated: “Consumer technology sales have been strong and I can’t see any reason for that to change during the next six months.”

In Singapore, the growing influence of international e-tailers and online marketplaces was recognised as a factor that could drive change in local consumer tech channel structures.

One Singapore-based distributor explained: “Overseas e-platforms have intruded on business locally. They have provided more options and cheaper value products for consumers to choose from... In certain product categories, the online platforms will still have some obstacles that they will need to overcome - especially in terms of warranty and RMA service.”

Distributors in Indonesia were upbeat on the potential growth that still exists in the market, driven by increasing demand in specific product categories including wearables, wireless audio and smart home. One Indonesia-based distributor commented: “The market [in Indonesia] is still green. It is not yet a mature market.”

In the Philippines, there were also strong confidence levels for retailers and e-tailers. One retailer commented: “We are seeing an increase in mobile product demand [in the Philippines]. We expect more mobile devices will be showcased in the consumer market moving forwards.”

Mobile and IoT potential

The potential of mobile devices and related accessories was a recurring theme across the region. In Thailand, one distributor stated: “Mobile gadgets are coming on strong to replace notebooks and PCs, so we need to look for more mobile-related accessories.”

The survey also revealed positive sentiment in Sri Lanka with one distributor claiming that the growth of the in-country IT market represented a significant opportunity for the consumer tech channel. In Vietnam, increased consumer interest in the Internet of Things (IoT) was cited as a positive factor driving the market forwards.

In Malaysia, one distributor stated: “Our sales performance has improved as we see opportunities and invest more in IoT products and lifestyle gadgets – especially sports-related products.”

The 2016 Asia-Pacific Consumer Tech Channel Survey collected responses from distributors, retailers and e-tailers invited to attend DISTREE APAC 2016. The responses were collected between the 14th and 25th October 2016.

McSherry concluded: “The APAC consumer tech market continues to represent a significant global growth opportunity for brands. DISTREE APAC aims to drive the development of this channel, by uniting the senior executives from vendors, distributors and retailers in one place at one time.”


Channel APAC is an official Media Partner for regional technology and consumer electronics retail channel event DISTREE APAC taking place November 2-4th in Singapore. Vendors, distributors and retailers requiring more information about DISTREE APAC 2016 should contact quoting code DAP16.

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