This is a part of the 2013 Distribution Trends Report. The annual report was researched and written by MDM editors based on interviews with dozens of wholesaler-distributors, as well as industry experts and manufacturers. MDM also conducted a survey of its readers to uncover the trends outlined in this report.
2013 Distribution Trends Report
End-of-life concerns have become more prominent for electronics distributors. More distributors are introducing electronic asset disposal (EAD) services to address concerns for their customers. Avnet and Arrow, in particular, have made several acquisitions in recent years to address electronic asset disposal concerns. Most of the concerns fall into two categories: data security and environmental.
With more information being stored on smaller devices and information thieves becoming more tech savvy, safely disposing of electronic devices has become more complicated. More electronics distributors are providing options for ensuring the security of data by assisting in the disposal process.
State and federal governments have created several regulations related to the environmental impact of electronics entering landfills. Some, such as Colorado, are banning direct disposal of electronic devices outright. As a result, distributors are seeing significant opportunity to help customers comply with regulations.
On the other hand, with the speed at which technology and electronics have been changing, there is also a concern about being able to provide components for products facing obsolescence at the end of their perceived lifecycle. Larger distributors, such as Avnet, are making acquisitions to ensure continued support as electronic devices near the end of their functional lives.
Demand has increased for product traceability. Concerns about liability around counterfeit products have increased demand for product traceability further along the product's lifecycle. Previously, where the product went became "hazy after a few steps," according to Anne Ting, executive vice president of marketing for Components Direct, an Avnet company. Counterfeiters have also become more savvy in recent years, increasing the need for channel visibility in an increasingly global market.
Much of the acquisition activity in the electronics sector focused on improving the services offered to customers and adjacent products.
Avnet expanded its cloud and data center automation offerings with the acquisition of Seamless Technologies. It also expanded its consulting services through the acquisitions of BrightStar Partners and Pepperweed Consulting.
Arrow continued to focus on global expansion and improving its EAD services. The company completed six acquisitions since January 2012.