Infonetics' Q1 figures on the wireless LAN (WLAN), router and switching markets will make grim reading for anyone in the enterprise networking channel.
According to the market watcher, growth in the WLAN market – an industry great white hope in recent quarters – slowed in the first three months of 2013 as buyers held on to their cash in anticipation of the arrival of 802.11ac products.
Meanwhile, enterprise router sales were weaker than expected, falling four per cent year on year and five per cent quarter on quarter to $833m (£549m). Ethernet switch sales performed somewhat better, rising one per cent year on year to $4.7bn, Infonetics said.
WLAN sales have rebounded in recent quarters and, despite the Q1 slowdown, were still up 18 per cent year on year, driven by more wireless devices, mobility and BYOD, the market watcher said. But at $1bn, the Q1 total was seven per cent down on Q4 2012.
The top two WLAN protagonists – Cisco and Aruba – were the only vendors to enjoy double-digit growth in Q1. HP, Motorola and Ruckus battled it out for third.
Cisco also tightened its vice-like grip on the router segment as its market share rose 1.2 points sequentially to 71.5 per cent in Q1.
"Seasonality tends to drive down first-quarter revenue for enterprise routers, but the first quarter of 2013 came in weaker than expected," said Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst for enterprise networks and video at Infonetics Research. "Worse, unit growth has slowed considerably over the past two quarters."
Machowinski said the switch market is faring better, despite an eight per cent sequential slip in sales.
"While we saw the usual first-quarter seasonal dip in Ethernet switch sales in 1Q13, overall growth has strengthened over the past three quarters, a positive sign given continuing weakness in Europe and lower spending by the US federal government," he said.
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