South Africa's IT retail market is showing signs of maturity with not only consumers and SMEs using the retail channel, but larger businesses also starting to fill their IT needs at the shopping centre.
This is according to Robbie Johnson, consumer go-to-market manager at HP, who points out that South African retailers are getting into IT in a big way.
"There has been a lot of consolidation in the channel and a number of the bigger retailers now taking on other product lines," he says.
In addition, most of the retailers he has dealings with are planning to at least double their footprint over the next two years.
A further trend driving the emergence of the retail channel is the increasingnumber of mass market stores that are carrying IT solutions.
"A couple of years ago people wouldn't have gone into a mass store to buy a PC," says Johnson. "Today it's almost like buying bread and milk."
Retailers are also cottoning on to the idea of providing buyers with an overall shopping experience, and Johnson says merchandising, staff training and creating excitement within stores are all contributing to driving sales.
HP continues to dominate the market in terms of printer sales. In 2006, the company sold 240 000 printers in the South African market – about 40% of the total.