If there’s a good time to accelerate a move away from enterprise hardware sales, it's now: global shipments of enterprise OEM storage systems, ethernet switches and routers, wireless LAN and printers have all slowed to a crawl.
Research published by analyst firm IDC late last week revealed that shipment growth in Q3 2019 came in just barely over one percent for each category, except for WLAN, which declined 1.1 percent.
Enterprise external OEM storage systems grew 1.3 percent year-over-year to US$6.6 billion in Q3, with declines in hard-disk-only and some flash array sales.
"While market growth of any kind is always a welcomed sight, we see mixed results this quarter," said Greg Macatee, research analyst for Infrastructure Platforms and Technologies.
"Strong double-digit annual growth of All Flash Array (AFA) sales was required to offset declines in the Hybrid Flash Array (HFA) and HDD-Only markets.”
Ethernet switch shipments grew 0.1 percent in the same period to US$7.32 billion, with only slow growth in APAC.
On a per-vendor basis, Cisco and Hewlett Packard Enterprise declined 5.6 percent and seven percent year-on-year, but Huawei, Juniper and Arista networks saw increases of 4.4 percent, 4.5 percent and 14.3 percent, respectively.
Router shipments did slightly better with 0.8 percent growth to US$3.74 billion, with declines in APAC and western Europe, but were offset by growth in the US and the Middle East and Africa.
Enterprise wireless LAN shipments are down 1.1 percent year-over-year to $1.62 billion due to the transition to 802.11ax or Wi-Fi 6. When combined with consumer, the decline is steeper at 3.6 percent.
"The enterprise WLAN market is transitioning as vendors and customers begin to adopt [Wi-Fi 6], which includes numerous features for enterprises and Internet of Things use cases,"IDC senior research analyst, Enterprise Networks Brandon Butler said.
"IDC expects the continued adoption of Wi-Fi 6 to be a major driver of growth for the enterprise WLAN market in the fourth quarter of 2019 and throughout 2020."
Hardcopy peripherals, which include single-function printers, multifunctional systems (MFPs), and single-function digital copiers (SFDCs), saw its overall shipment value grow 1.1 percent to $11.6 billion in Q3, but unit shipments declined 3.9 percent to 24 million for the period.