The Future Gives the Channel Reason for Optimism

The road to channel prosperity isn’t smooth. Knowing the trends and understanding their root causes is the foundation for successful navigation.

Let’s face it: The past 12 months haven’t been a fount of good news. Amid the ongoing pandemic, political turmoil – particularly in the United States – and the swinging economic pendulum, people and businesses are dealing with levels and waves of uncertainty not seen since the Great Depression and World War II.

By all rights, people should feel down. The business outlook under the pressure of economic uncertainty should be pessimistic. The channel should brace for another year of challenges and hardship.

The operative word is “should.”

The channel is not pessimistic. Each year, Channelnomics (formerly The 2112 Group) conducts two surveys: the Channel Chief Outlook, which measures the expectations of channel professionals; and the Channel Forecast, an accounting of what partners think will happen in the coming year. While we can see the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in both studies, a comparison of year-over-year future-looking expectations would make you think nothing happened in 2020 to change perceptions.

At the beginning of 2020, the vast majority of vendors and partners anticipated positive growth – which we define as increased revenue of 5% or more. At the start of 2021, despite the continuing uncertainty and turmoil, channel pros on both sides of the aisle pointed to growth in the next 12 months. In the respective surveys, 71% of channel professionals anticipate growth in 2021, while 70% of partners anticipate the same.

In other words, the channel is resilient to disruption and looking forward with positive expectations.

Written by Larry Walsh

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