After a tough year, strong sales of unified threat management (UTM) and high-end firewalls helped the western European security appliance market begin the recovery process in Q4 2009.
According to IDC, revenue in 2009's last three months stood at $449.5m – a 0.1 per cent decline on the same period in 2008. Unit shipments were down 1.4 per cent annually to 140,401. Across the whole of 2009, sales fell three per cent to $1.61bn.
IDC research analyst Romain Fouchereau claimed the solid Q4 numbers foreshadowed better times ahead for the market.
"After a challenging start to the year, the western European security appliance market turned around in Q4 2009 to reach the same results as in the final quarter of the previous year," he said. "On the back of those better-than-expected results in 4Q 2009, IDC anticipates the security appliance market to fully rebound over the coming quarters."
The firewall/virtual private network (VPN) market grew more than a third annually in Q4, with revenue reaching $90.7m. Firewalls in the $100,000-plus price band proved particularly popular, with sales up 51 per cent.
Fourth quarter UTM sales were up 5.2 per cent year on year to $137m, making it the market's largest segment. IDC indicated the intrusion-prevention system (IPS) sector was the hardest hit by the recession, and sales of the technology were still feeling the pinch in Q4. IPS revenue slumped 14.5 per cent on Q4 2008 to $74.2m. VPN appliance sales also took a hit, with Q4 revenue down 17.5 per cent to $52.3m.
McAfee's September 2008 acquisition of Secure Computing helped it more than quintuple its market share across 2009. During Q4, the firm was western Europe's second biggest vendor, holding an 11.4 per cent slice of the market. Sales were up more than 400 per cent annually to $51.2m.
Cisco remains the market leader, but the near 20-point lead it held a year ago has narrowed significantly. The vendor's market share was down almost three points year on year to 23.9 per cent in Q4, while revenue slumped 10.5 per cent to $107.3m.
Third-placed Juniper's market share was up slightly to 7.8 per cent, as the vendor's revenue grew about 10 per cent to $34.9m. Check Point, in fourth, was one of Q4's big winners, with sales growing almost two-thirds year-on-year to $23.1m. The firm's market share increased by two points to 5.1 per cent.
Fortinet completed the top five, but the vendor endured a tough three months. Q4 sales slumped 10 per cent to $20.9m, while market share was down half a point to 4.6 per cent.
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