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Worldwide WLAN Market Shows Slowing Growth in First Quarter of 2014

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The combined consumer and enterprise worldwide wireless local area network (WLAN) market segments increased 7.0% year over year in the first quarter of 2014.

According to preliminary IDC survey results, the enterprise segment continued to grow at a healthy rate and increased 10.3% over the same period last year. While the pace of the enterprise WLAN market growth has been steadily decreasing over the last several quarters, the market continues to be one of the faster growing networking market segments. The consumer WLAN market also had a stable quarter in 1Q14 and grew 3.8% year over year. The growth in the consumer WLAN space benefited from the ongoing transition from the older 802.11n standard to the newer and faster 802.11ac standard as well as a solid performance in emerging markets.

"WLAN infrastructure continues to be a bright spot in the networking market, with mobility and cloud driving investments and refresh cycles across geographies and verticals," said Rohit Mehra, Vice President, Network Infrastructure, at IDC. "While a stabilizing growth rate suggests the market maturing, new vertical-specific use cases and the ramping adoption of the emerging 802.11ac standard will fuel sustained growth in the enterprise WLAN market for the foreseeable future."

From a geographic perspective, the enterprise WLAN market performed especially well in Latin America with its 33.3% year-over-year growth in 1Q14. Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region followed with a 12.1% year-over-year increase. Asia/Pacific grew just under 10% at 9.9% year over year and North America grew below the overall market level at 7.7% year over year.

"Although some of the leading vendors experienced flattening revenues in the first quarter, growth in the worldwide enterprise WLAN market will remain strong as technological evolutions drive network upgrades as well as greenfield deployments," said Petr Jirovsky, Research Manager, Worldwide Networking Trackers.

Key Enterprise WLAN Vendor Updates

  • Cisco's 1Q14 worldwide enterprise WLAN revenue was flat year over year and declined -11.6% quarter over quarter due to typical seasonality. Cisco was particularly impacted by relative weakness in the Service Provider vertical in the Asia/Pacific region, which declined -16.8% year over year. Cisco's worldwide market share stands at 47.9% in 1Q14, down from 48.4% in 4Q13 and 52.8% in 1Q13.
  • Aruba (excluding its OEM business) had a very strong quarter in 1Q14 and revenue increased 25.4% year over year and 8.4% sequentially on strength across its product portfolio, including the 802.11ac and Aruba Instant access points. Aruba's market share increased to 11.9% of the enterprise WLAN market, up from the 9.8% in 4Q13 and 10.5% in 1Q13.
  • Ruckus also handily outperformed the overall enterprise WLAN market after growing 36.4% year over year and 4.1% quarter over quarter in 1Q14. Ruckus now accounts for 6.7% of the overall market, up from 5.4% in 1Q13.
  • HP's 1Q14 revenue underperformed the overall market and decreased -10.5% year over year and slipped below $50 million for the quarter. As a result, HP's market share dropped to 4.4% of the market from 5.4% last quarter.


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