Fulfilment woes cost MYOB in June: Inform

MYOB has been leapfrogged by Quicken in the two-horse market share race taking place in retail sales of the small business accounting software market, according to channel research company Inform.

Having held the upper hand since Inform started collecting data at the beginning of 2000, June's results suggest MYOB may have not capitalised on the golden opportunity presented to local accounting software firms by GST as well as its competitor did.

Naturally, Quicken was keen to support this line of thinking while MYOB was a little sceptical as to what such a statistic meant.

According to Phil Burnham, senior research analyst with Inform, sales figures for the booming pre-GST month of June showed Quicken's sales jumped a massive 175 per cent since the beginning of the year.

Inform's research showed Quicken moved from a 39.40 per cent second-tier slice of the market in May to a market-leading 51.10 per cent share in June. On the flip side, MYOB slipped from 57.30 per cent in June to 46.30 per cent one month later.

The June figures show Quicken and MYOB hold an astounding combined total of 97.4 per cent of the market for small business financial software.

Burnham attributed MYOB's slide from the top of the ladder to "some retailers finding their shelves empty" and "fulfilment and supply issues" in general. MYOB handles its own fulfilment, whereas Quicken engages a distributor.

Burnham said June was a spike month and that its figures could change again in July.

"Up until now, MYOB had always been in front in small business financials products. June was the first time they changed places.

Quicken CEO Greg Wilkinson described the result it garnered from the red carpet ride small business financial software companies received in June as being "very comforting". He attributed Quicken's leapfrogging of MYOB to the smooth execution of a thorough plan to take advantage of an obvious huge opportunity.

Wilkinson also said a key factor in the success of its June strategy was to time its massive marketing campaign to coincide with the Federal Government's "unchain my heart" campaign. He also claimed utilising the fulfilment skills of Express Data as being crucial to its not facing any fulfilment woes.

"We would have struggled to fulfil under such extraordinary demand," he said. "We figure we are not in the distribution game. That is something best left to the experts."

MYOB CEO Craig Winkler was less enthusiastic about the reliability of the results, despite the fact the same research showed it to be the front-runner until June. The research, he said, is not thorough and doesn't cover all retail outlets, including several where MYOB is prominent. Heads are not rolling and there will be no knee-jerk reaction, he added.

"I am not concerned [by Inform's figures]," Winkler said. "There are lots of variables that can affect somebody's specific set of figures. To start reacting to that kind of survey is not the right way to go."

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