Momentum in Unexpected Places
Some trends in this year’s data might surprise you. Who would’ve guessed, for instance, that the number of channel pros providing break-fix services has gone up in the last year, from 55% to 61%? Furthermore, 27% of survey participants now call break-fix a high-margin offering (as opposed to 18% in 2021), 22% expect margins to improve in the future, and 55% believe that doing break-fix has a positive effect on competitive advantage relative to peers. Just 35% of our poll sample made that last assertion in 2021.
For all the excitement about the cloud, meanwhile, the share of channel pros offering hardware is headed up rather than down. Some 72% of readers we polled now sell servers, for example, versus 61% a year ago, and 73% now offer PCs and peripherals, versus 64% last year. Heck, 39% continue to sell custom business PCs and 28% offer custom gaming PCs even though just 9% call margins on custom hardware high.
Does 9% sound low? Only 7% of respondents consider margins on PCs and peripherals high. And while 7% also describe margins on print imaging and managed print services as high, 29% (versus 24% in 2021) continue to offer it. Servers, it appears, are the closest thing to profitable when it comes to hardware—a whopping 16% of channel pros call server margins high.
That’s OK, though. There’s plenty to be happy about in the SMB channel these days, which is a delightful change from a year ago. Here’s hoping we’re still smiling next year.
Methodology and Demographics
The 2022 ChannelPro State of the Channel survey was conducted online from September to October 2021, and was open to everyone in our email database. About 66% of the 872 respondents are MSPs, 49% say they’re primarily VARs, and 17% are custom system builders. Fifty-three percent hold executive management titles such as CEO, owner, and president; about 20% work in unspecified technical management roles; and about 16% are sales or marketing managers. Approximately 38% work at companies with one to four employees, while roughly 17%, 26%, and 20%, respectively, are affiliated with firms that have five to nine, 10 to 49, and 50-plus people on staff.