Challenged by ongoing COVID-19 shutdowns and restrictions, U.S. B2B technology channel sales through Q3 declined 4% compared to the same period in 2019 (Jan.- Sept.). But, according to The NPD Group’s B2B Distributor Track and Reseller Tracking Services, U.S. B2B tech channel sales returned to positive growth for the first time since the start of the pandemic in September, up 1% versus September 2019.
During the first three quarters of 2020, security software sales grew 7% year-over-year, compared to a 2% decline in the remainder of the software market. Security software sales continue to see growth as companies work to support their remote workforces. This will continue to be critical to organizations working to manage a myriad of home and work devices operating on what are often poorly secured home networks. Data Center software is another bright spot in the channel with growth of 6% year-over-year, now representing 54% of total data center ecosystem revenue. Security software is once again a driver of growth in this category, with data center security software up 11%, based on NPD’s Data Center Ecosystem Report.
In the B2B channel hardware that enables remote working/learning, such as notebooks and USB cameras, has seen notable growth as well. Notebooks have experienced 27% revenue growth year-over-year through September, despite supply shortages. Additionally, USB Webcam sales are up 326% or nearly $140M in incremental revenue over the same timeframe. Demand is being fueled by the need for an improved video conferencing experience by educators and the remote workforce.
“The return to growth in September is promising and we expect demand for devices that better the work or learn from home experience will continue to drive sales in the channel,” said Mike Crosby, Director and B2B Technology Industry Analyst, The NPD Group. “Categories like Chromebooks and USB webcams will continue to be challenged by product shortages through Q1, as consumers continue to clamor for these products.”
Source: The NPD Group, Inc., U.S. B2B Distributor Track® and Reseller Tracking service, Jan.- Sept. 2020 vs. Jan.- Sept. 2019.