In 2017, the U.S. B2B indirect hardware market grew four percent vs. 2016, from $55 billion to $57 billion, according to The NPD Group’s Distributor Track and Commercial Reseller Tracking Service. This increase outpaced the annual U.S. GDP growth and demonstrates the strength of the hardware market in the B2B channel, which is being driven by segments such as PCs and networking devices.
In the U.S. B2B indirect channel, the PC market, which includes notebooks, desktops, desktop workstations, thin-clients, and point-of-sale PCs, grew 11 percent year over year in unit shipments in 2017. From a volume perspective, notebooks and desktops represented the bulk of unit sales, but point-of-sale (POS) PCs and desktop workstations saw the strongest growth at 31 percent and 26 percent, respectively.
“While POS PCs and workstations represent a small portion of the overall PC market, strong growth in the POS PC market was driven by upgrades to Windows 10 and an increase in the number of retail establishments utilizing POS equipment,” noted Michael Diamond, Director, Industry Analysis, Commercial Technology for The NPD Group. “Workstation sales were primarily driven by firms expanding their data mining practices in pursuit of transforming their businesses with analytic solutions, growth of medical imaging due to the aging U.S. population, and graphic needs in the media and entertainment industries.”
In the networking market, strong unit growth of wireless access points (+20 percent) and security appliances (+26 percent) were growth engines for the overall category, as companies work to meet the increasing demand being put on wireless networks, as well as thwart both internal and external threats. In the switching segment, strong unit growth was exhibited in the 10GbE (+29 percent) and 40GbE (+72 percent) segments as businesses upgraded campus and data center networks due to the increased throughput required by virtualized infrastructure.
“After a strong 2017, we expect the B2B indirect channel will continue to experience growth in 2018, due to favorable tax policies and adjusted regulations that have the propensity to stimulate small business growth,” said Diamond. “Technologies that drive productivity improvements, enhance the customer and partner experience, protect critical infrastructure, and allow channel partners to layer on higher-margin services will be key to growth in the year ahead.”