Worldwide revenues in the combined consumer and enterprise wireless local area network (WLAN) market segments declined 6.5% year over year in the fourth quarter of 2019 (4Q19) and fell 3.9% for the full year, according to results published in the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly WLAN Tracker. The enterprise segment grew revenues 1.5% year over year in 4Q19 to reach $1.7 billion and 1.8% for the full year 2019, reaching $6.2 billion.
One of the major advancements in the WLAN market in 2019 has been the introduction of Wi-Fi 6, or 802.11ax. In the enterprise segment, Wi-Fi 6 rose to make up 10.0% of dependent AP unit shipments and 16.7% of revenues in 4Q19, up from 3.2% of shipments and 6.2% of revenues in the previous quarter. This indicates that Wi-Fi 6 adoption among enterprises has begun in earnest. The previous generation standard, 802.11ac, still makes up the majority of shipments (78.4%) and revenues (78.3%) in the enterprise market.
Meanwhile, the consumer WLAN market showed weakness in 4Q19. Revenues declined 12.0% year over year in 4Q19 and were off 7.8% for the full year. Within the consumer market, 59.5% of shipments and 78.3% of revenues were for 802.11ac products. Wi-Fi 6 has not yet penetrated the consumer market, which means 802.11n still makes up a significant portion of both unit shipments (40.1%) and revenues (19.4%).
“Enterprise WLAN market growth slowed in the latter part of 2019 due in part to macro-economic issues impacting enterprise spending, especially in 4Q19. While these results closed before COVID-19 began spreading, the concerns around it are expected to further impact the broader outlook for the market in the first half of 2020,” said Brandon Butler, senior research analyst, Network Infrastructure, IDC. “Despite these near-term headwinds, enterprises will continue to invest in wireless networking technology given its critical importance as an access connectivity method and driver of digital transformation.”
From a geographic perspective, the WLAN market saw strong growth in the Middle East and Africa region in 4Q19, which increased 12.4% year over year and 13.6% for the full year compared to 2018. Saudi Arabia was a standout in the region, growing 22.1% year over year in 4Q19. The USA market grew 5.4% year over year in 4Q19 and was up 3.9% for the full year. Canada’s 4Q19 revenues rose 5.3%, bringing the full year growth to 1.2%.
The Asia/Pacific region (excluding Japan), was flat for the quarter, rising 0.3%, but ended the full year up 2.4%. The People’s Republic of China grew 7.0% in the quarter and 6.4% for the full year. Japan’s market grew 4.0% for the quarter but was down 11.2% for the full year. The Central & Eastern Europe region was also flat with a decline of 0.4% in 4Q19 and ended the year just positive at 0.1% growth. A standout in the region was Romania, which grew 12.1% in the quarter. Western Europe declined 4.3% for the quarter and 0.5% for the full year. Within the region, the United Kingdom fell 7.1% in the quarter. The market in Latin America was down 8.6% for the quarter and 7.2% for the year; Mexico’s market fell 16.5% in the quarter.
“The enterprise WLAN market experienced mixed results across the globe, indicating the impact of geo-political issues,” noted Petr Jirovsky, research director, Worldwide Networking Trackers. “Within the enterprise market, the emergence of the 802.11ax standard has hit a turning point with Wi-Fi 6 now being adopted by enterprises across the globe. The enterprise WLAN market is on the cusp of a significant refresh cycle that will help propel the market’s growth in the coming quarters and years.”
Key Enterprise WLAN Vendor Updates
- Cisco‘s enterprise WLAN revenues decreased 3.7% year over year in 4Q19, but the company ended 2019 with full-year revenues 1.7% above its 2018 revenues. Cisco remains the market share leader, finishing the year with 44.6% share.
- HPE-Aruba‘s revenues rose 6.1% year over year in 4Q19 and were up 1.4% for the full year. The company’s market share remained steady at 13.9% in 2019 compared to 2018.
- Ubiquiti‘s enterprise WLAN revenues were flat year over year in 4Q19, rising just 0.3%; the company’s full year revenues grew 11.5% giving Ubiquiti 7.0% share to end the year.
- Huawei had a strong quarter with revenues rising 10.6% year over year in 4Q19. For the full year, revenues were up 9.9%, giving the company 5.5% share to end the year.
- CommScope (formerly ARRIS/Ruckus) saw its revenues decline 8.9% in 4Q19 and were off 17.2% for the full year. The company ended 2019 with 5.3% market share.
A graphic illustrating worldwide revenues for the top 5 WLAN companies over the previous five quarters is available by viewing this press release on IDC.com.
The IDC Worldwide Quarterly WLAN Tracker provides total market size and vendors share data in an easy-to-use Excel Pivot Table format. The geographic coverage includes 8 major regions (USA, Canada, Latin America, AP excluding Japan, Japan, Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa) and 58 countries. The WLAN market is further segmented by product class, product type, product, standard, and location. Measurement for the WLAN market is provided in factory revenue, customer revenue, and unit shipments.
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