Revenue: £106.2m (-9%)
Key vendors: Asus, Corsair, Fractal, BeQuiet, TP-Link and Norton
Having grown 50% the previous year, this Dorset-based hardware distributor’s revenues dropped back 9% to £106.2m in its year to 30 April 2022.
Weaker consumer demand is currently being offset by a “reasonably stable” B2B market, according to Director John Appleton (who tells us he once sung karaoke at Lewis Capaldi’s christening – see below).
“We are expecting the gaming market to be strong in H2”
Quickfire Q&A with Director John Appleton
What’s an obscure fact about Spire, or you personally, most people won’t know?
Spire was originally established as an Atari distributor and I sang karaoke at Lewis Capaldi’s christening.
Just how tough is it in the market right now?
I think it’s easy for people’s take on this to be skewed by the spike in IT spending we saw at the height of the pandemic. While the cost of living crisis is undoubtedly impacting consumer spending, we are seeing its negative impact offset by a reasonably stable B2B market. As spending has normalised post-pandemic, our sales trajectory is in line with pre-pandemic forecasts and expectations.
What bright spots are you seeing?
The B2B market remains stable and we are seeing healthy system sales within our customer base.
What’s been your high point of the last 12 months?
Undoubtedly ‘Spire Live’, our first trade event since the old days of the ECTS. We hired Bournemouth Pier and invited vendors and resellers to join us for the day of business and fun. Being able to spend the whole day and evening together in such a lovely setting was perfect to showcase our products, make and strengthen relationships and give everyone a sense of the culture and ethos of Spire Technology and of the strength of the vendor and customer relations we work so hard to foster. The weather was kind (as it always is in Bournemouth!), the sun shone and it was a really fun day, one we will look to repeat next summer.
Name one thing Spire does better than anyone else…
First and foremost, I think we do the fundamentals really well. Delivering stock on time is a given but customers and manufacturers also expect their distributors to respond quickly and effectively and they want to actually speak to the right person whenever they need to with ease. It’s all too common for distributors to fall at those first hurdles. Beyond that, our team of account managers is highly experienced with an average length of service exceeding nine years.
Which technology area or vendor are you betting big on for H2 2023?
We are expecting the gaming market to be strong in H2 as, for the first time in a while, the industry is going into peak without any major shortages on commodity products. With market leaders like Asus, Corsair and Fractal in our stable, we are in a great position to meet the expected demand.
The analysts see distribution becoming increasingly characterised by cloud and marketplaces. Is that reflected in the evolution of your own business?
We are proud to still be a strictly trade-only distributor which I think is acknowledged and appreciated by the channel. Our significant growth in the last decade in the face of the growing threat of cloud and marketplaces hopefully is an indicator to the future. Being predominantly hardware focused does lessen any impact of cloud but there can be no room for complacency and we continually review our business model to ensure we remain relevant.