Strong turnout at D&H Toronto Technology Show reflects booming Canadian business

Attendance was up significantly this year among both vendors and resellers, with the show floor having a high-number of gaming-focused companies pitching VARs for their business.


Jeff Davis, SVP of Sales at D&H

MISSISSAUGA – Wednesday, SMB-focused distributor D&H Canada held its ninth annual Toronto Technology Show at the Mississauga Convention Centre, and the well-attended event reflected the success the company is having in the Canadian marketplace.

“Our reseller attendance is up 15 per cent this year,” said Jeff Davis, SVP of Sales at D&H. “Our vendor participation this year is up 20 to 25 per cent. This event for us is a good opportunity to engage with the Canadian customer based for the fall selling season, and fits between our Boston show in August and our Hershey one at the beginning of November.”

While D&H’s business generally continues to do extremely well notwithstanding the erratic economy, Davis said that the Canadian business is doing exceptionally well, and is outpacing performance in their U.S. home base.

“We are approaching our ten-year anniversary base at this event, and business continues to keep growing here,” he said. “Our Canadian business continues its rapid increase year over year. Our key customers are growing at a 30-40 per cent rate, and seem to be taking share in the marketplace.”

Davis said that their VAR business in Canada is doing particularly well.

“We are seeing good steady growth here in the VAR business, The retail business in Canada too is very strong. Retailers are continuing to open stores up here, while in the U.S., stores are closing. The eCommerce business is not as prevalent as it is in the U.S., but that will come. Canada is a completely different business market than it is down in the U.S., and the resources we put in place here reflect that.”

New vendors at the event this year included GIGABYTE, which makes motherboards and components, MakerBot, which makes 3D printing solutions, Seagate subsidiary LaCie, which makes high performance external drives, and security software vendor Kaspersky Lab. Three vendors were featured in the educational sessions held before the show floor opened — NVIDIA, Plantronics and Lenovo, who spoke on high speed graphics, audio software services, and the data centre respectively.

The number of vendors catering to the gaming market at the show was striking this year. In the early days of the century, with many small system builders in the market, such vendors were a common sight at shows, but the last decade has been hard on the small system builder.

“The gamer focus is definitely coming back,” Davis said. “Part of it is because the equipment is just so good now. The experience gets better every year, and you have more people who are willing to pay for that. From a vendor perspective, gaming is the only part of the systems business that seems to be recession proof. They are putting a lot of focus on the whole gaming environment because they know that its demographic will spend.”

While much of the gaming business is retail, the companies at the event were aggressively soliciting VARs as well.

“With VARs, it depends on their focus,” Davis said. “Many are concentrated on specific verticals like doctors or lawyers, and those don’t play on the gaming side. But there are still some who have a niche business in modifying and customizing equipment to a higher level than retail. Graphics cards still do very well for us. We are in the console market in the U.S. [although not in Canada] and it has done well.”

D&H has always credited their success in the Canadian market to their focus on the S part of the SMB market, which is a good fit there, as well as with their high touch service model, with long-serving staff who have a durable relationship with customers.

“Our service model puts even more emphasis on service than price, and we aren’t playing in the enterprise space like the other broadline distributors, which helps us here,” Davis said.

Davis also noted that the big distribution news these days – Tech Data acquiring Avnet’s distribution business – should help D&H because it will increase Tech Data’s strength in, and focus on, the enterprise.

“We believe that as they increase focus on the enterprise, they will start to evacuate on the SMB space, which works to our benefit,” he said.