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DISTREE Events channel survey identifies Gaming, Smart Home and Lifestyle Tech as top growth categories for 2018

by Stuart Wilson, Tuesday 6 February 2018

Liam McSherry, Marketing Director for DISTREE Events
Liam McSherry, Marketing Director for DISTREE Events

DISTREE Events has announced preliminary findings from its annual Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) consumer tech distributor survey. The in-depth survey was completed by more than 100 distributors between December 4th 2017 and 9th January 2018.

Distributors were asked to assess which product categories represented the best growth potential for their business in calendar 2018. The standout category was Gaming, with 54% of distributors identifying it as a top three product segment for sales growth potential in 2018.

Liam McSherry, Marketing Director for DISTREE Events, commented: “Gaming stands out for EMEA distributors as a category that offers not only significant sales growth potential, but also an opportunity to boost margins. Many gamers now attach significant value to specific brands and premium features.”

The annual distributor survey is conducted prior to consumer tech channel event DISTREE EMEA, which begins in Monaco today. As the region’s largest independent hosted buyer event for the consumer tech channel, DISTREE EMEA unites hundreds of consumer tech brands, distributors, retailers and e-tailers in one place at one time.

Smart Home potential

Smart Home was also viewed as a priority segment for 2018 with 50% of distributors identifying it as a top three category in terms of growth potential. This was followed by Lifestyle Tech, which 43% selected as a top three category for 2018.

“Both Smart Home and Lifestyle Tech are segments where we see a vibrant and dynamic brand landscape. With vendor proliferation in both these categories, plus strong growth potential, there is a clear desire from distributors to add new brands to their portfolio,” added McSherry.

The proportion of exhibitors at DISTREE EMEA showcasing Gaming, Smart Home and Lifestyle Tech products continues to rise, aligning closely with growing interest from distributors, retailers and e-tailers in these categories.

“Building strong channels remains vital to long-term success for brands in these growth categories,” added McSherry. “DISTREE EMEA is now in its 16th year and has helped hundreds of consumer tech brands quickly and efficiently launch, build or manage their routes-to-market across the region. The opportunity to pre-schedule meetings with channel partners focused on specific categories or markets allows brands to meet companies that have clear business relevance to them.”

Portfolio expansion

The survey also revealed that 94% of distributors expected the number of consumer tech brands in their portfolio to increase in the next six months. In terms of profitability, distributors were split on how they saw their business evolving in 2018. The results showed that 54% of distributors expected their profit margins to increase in the next six months, with 46% of distributors forecasting a decline.

Distributors are also beginning to differentiate in terms of the type of brands they wish to add to their portfolio. The survey revealed that 80% of distributors were interested in meeting A-brands at DISTREE EMEA, with 74% indicating they were interested in meeting emerging brands. A total of 46% were interested in meeting start-ups at this year’s event.

McSherry added: “It is highly encouraging that almost half of all distributors are interested in meeting start-ups. It requires a special set of skills to work with start-ups and help them build and develop their channel reach across EMEA. We are seeing an increasing number of distributors working in this area and looking to engage early with promising consumer tech start-ups.”

Channel accelerator

DISTREE EMEA’s unique event platform acts as a channel accelerator for consumer tech brands. Analysis from last year’s event revealed that more than 950 distribution deals were either signed or under negotiation six months after the event.

Aurore Verla-Friess, Audience Director at DISTREE Events, concluded: “DISTREE EMEA provides a premium event experience for exhibitors and channel delegates. The value of face-to-face meetings remains as high as ever in the consumer tech channel. Using DISTREE’s powerful web platform, meetings are pre-scheduled in specific time slots, ensuring that all delegates derive significant business benefits from their participation.”

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