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CONTEXT predicts another strong year of growth for the IT channel

Revenue growth for European IT distributors in 2022 is forecast to stand at an impressive 3.7% versus the previous year, excluding telecoms, according to CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

The figures represent an increase on the 3.2% year-on-year (YoY) growth predicted at the start of 2021. They are even more significant coming on the back of two years of high growth during the pandemic, and a gloomy IMF GDP forecast which recently downgraded global growth from 4.4% to 3.2% for 2022.

Excluding telecoms, we forecast 5.8% growth in Q4 2022, followed by a softening in successive quarters brought about by recession and reduced backlogs.

The story of 2022 and beyond

CONTEXT’s predictions for 2022 are based on strengthening infrastructure and software and services, driven by business demand across servers, networking and storage. The supply chain issues that impacted network and server components in particular eased in Q3, although there are still long lead times for some networking products.

“Hybrid working trends will continue to fuel demand for hardware, while growth will also come from IT infrastructure, and government investment in health and education, supported by the NextGenerationEU Covid relief fund”, said Adam Simon, Global MD at CONTEXT. “On the flip side, consumer demand has softened thanks to the surging cost of living, economic uncertainty and the spectre of recession – and will continue to do so into 2023.”


For Q4 2022 and beyond we’ve split our analysis into six key sectors:

PC demand will remain muted due to slumping consumer confidence, with inflation pushing prices up. Businesses will also remain cautious, with demand for PCs likely to be pushed out, and no major government-backed education projects on the horizon.

Displays will be heavily influenced by a continued decline in consumer demand on the one hand, and rising business demand on the other, due to office refurbs. A return to mass live events should also help the market for LFDs.

Imaging sales will continue to be influenced by geopolitical and economic uncertainty and high inflation, undermining both consumer and corporate confidence. SMBs will be the main driver of the printer market for the rest of 2022, although supply chain challenges remain.

Enterprise infrastructure is on a roll. Datacentres will see the greatest distribution growth of any sector over the next few months, and there’ll be major opportunities in security software and services. Infrastructure software will continue to provide a solid revenue stream for distributors with the skills and focus to take advantage.

Enterprise storage and server sales will perform well thanks to a reduction of server backlogs/improved component availability, and continued strong business demand for storage – despite the loss of the large Russian market.

Enterprise networking sales will benefit significantly from a loosening of supply chain constraints, especially in the enterprise switching space. Hybrid working and digital transformation will also drive demand, although falling prices, depressed revenues and demanding YoY comparisons may limit growth.


CONTEXT’s market intelligence, performance benchmarks and opportunity analysis empower clients to optimise operations and accelerate tomorrow’s revenues. With over 35 years of industry partnership and experience reporting on large datasets, CONTEXT delivers analytics at all points in the value chain, providing clients with actionable insights rooted in concrete data and a profound understanding of customer needs. CONTEXT is headquartered in London, with over 300 staff across the world, and in 2019 was recognised as one of the UK’s Best Workplaces™ by Great Place to Work®.

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