According to IDC the combined consumer and enterprise WLAN market sees flat revenue growth of 0.1% Y-o-Y in Q4 2016, while full-year 2016 revenues total $2.43 billion, a 3.1% increase.
The quarter is more positive for the enterprise segment, with revenues growing by 3.1% Y-o-Y to reach $5.4bn. Full year 2016 is also positive, with 7.2% growth leading to revenues worth $5.4bn. The analyst points out strong demand for network refreshes and digital transformation initiatives as main growth drivers leading to stronger growth over the 4.2% seen in 2015.
W. Europe sees enterprise WLAN growth of 2.1% in Q4 2016 and 5.9% for the full year, with Norway showing "significant" 30.8% Y-o-Y growth. CEE experiences a "moderate" -3.1% Y-o-Y decline in Q4 2016 while growing by 0.9% on a full-year 2016, with Hungary showing the strongest growth at 40.6% Y-o-Y. MEA is up by 5.9% Y-o-Y in Q4 2016 and 4.1% for the full year. Egypt leads the region, with Q4 2016 growth reaching 94.9% Y-o-Y.
The 802.11ac standard accounts for 65.6% of Q4 2016 dependent access point unit shipments and 80.9% of dependent access point revenues. For full year 2016, 802.11ac makes 63.4% of dependent AP shipments and 78.9% of revenues, an indication the 802.22n standard will be all but obsolete by 2018 in the mainstream enterprise segment.
"While growth in Q4 2016 is lower compared to previous quarters, IDC believes this market softness will be temporary," the analyst remarks. "Digital transformation efforts are continuing to take hold around the world and the market landscape is evolving so that vendors compete more nimbly to address the needs of emerging segments and use cases such as the Internet of Things."
In the vendor rankings, Cisco leads with 43.6% Q4 2016 share, down from 43.7% in Q3 2016 and 45% in Q4 2015, and shipments dropping by 0.2% Y-o-Y. IDC believes the Meraki cloud-managed WLAN portfolio remains a primary growth driver for the company, offsetting traditional controller-based WLAN product declines.
Aruba-HPE (excluding its OEM business and H3C as of Q2 2016) decreases 8.1% Q-o-Q, leading to Q4 2016 market share of 13.5%, down from 14.3% in Q3 2016. Huawei follows with 6.2% market share and "very strong" Q4 2016 growth of 55.3% Y-o-Y, while Ubiquiti increases by 97.2% Y-o-Y to account for 5.2% of the Q4 2016 market. Fifth placing Brocade-Ruckus declines by -20.9% Y-o-Y and gets 5.1% market share, down from 6.7% in both Q3 2016 and Q4 2016.