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Looking for AV Heroes: Understanding the Importance of the AV Distributor
The AV distribution market is proving remarkably resilient. Over the years its demise has been oft-reported, but the distribution 'tier' is still with us.
A decade ago, declining margins in the displays business were supposed to sound the death knell for multi-tier distribution, with the margins saved being shared out by manufacturers and the resellers. It didn't happen.
Then IT was going to take over. 'Broadline' IT distributors' ability to operate at low margins, allied to their logistics prowess, was going to put the AV specialists out of business.
Then online and direct business was going to make distributors redundant. A host of specialist AV systems manufacturers dismantled their pan-European distribution channels and set up their own national subsidiaries. Now they are still making the market, but using distributors to fill orders and handle the logistics.
Over the years game changers have come and gone, but it's obvious that AV still needs value-add distributors who can supply technical back-up, provide training and support, and help propel new technologies into the marketplace.
"We haven't seen a lot of market disturbance," says Imago md, Ian Vickerage. "There are a lot of things that are always going to change the market, but a lot of them have yet to come through, so the market leaders of 15 years ago are still in place. There's more stability than some people indicate, although different technologies are continually being launched."
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