Among projector vendors, InFocus Corp. grabbed the most market share, but the numbers don't tell the whole story. InFocus' share dropped in the first half of 2007 over the year-ago period, while in the No. 2 slot, Epson saw an increase.
But certainly don't count InFocus out. In September 2007, Tech Data Corp. senior vice president of marketing Bob O'Malley left the distributor after two and a half years to take the helm as CEO of InFocus.
"As we look to the opportunity for 2008, we are seeing the beginning of a growth period for projection, driven by changing display requirements," O'Malley said. "The majority of laptops sold today are now wide-screen. This change is creating the need for wide-screen projectors and accessories."
Gus Chiarello, PSG manager at Brooklyn, N.Y.-based solution provider Atlantic Business Products, has been working with InFocus for six years.
"They've been a staple in the projector business, whether it's residential or commercial," Chiarello said. "I've always felt they've been a market leader because their focus is on the projector business as opposed to NEC and Panasonic. "Those are all organizations that make nice projectors but that's not their core focus, their core focus is on LCD traditionally, that's why I feel like InFocus has a better quality product overall."
He added his customers rely on Atlantic Business Products as a trusted advisor, so the feedback he looks for is "I enjoyed the picture or it's easy to set up," he said. "If I do a follow up call that's what I expect because customers are not interested in going out and shopping 10 different brands, they're just interested in a good quality projector at a reasonable price point."
Meanwhile, NEC Display Solutions of America banks on its strong education focus—40 percent of all sales in the projector market are in the K-12 segment, said Pierre Richer, who was named president and COO last month.
Towards that end, NEC runs the Star Student program in the channel, which helps institutions acquire visual displays. "It's a great automated education program where end users or channel partners get benefits," said Richer.
For its part, ViewSonic Corp. held steady, with market share unchanged in the first half of 2007 over the year-ago period. However, Brian Igoe, vice president of U.S. sales, said that as measured internally by the company, it experienced 46 percent growth from 2006 to 2007.
ViewSonic deals solely through the channel according to Igoe, who said means that, "there's no chance of us going in and taking an end-user deal directly and I think from the reseller's standpoint they respect and appreciate that."