Growth rates remained strong in the enterprise segment of the wireless local area networking (WLAN) market in the second quarter of 2021 (2Q21) as the market increased 22.4% on a year-over-year basis to $1.7 billion, according to the IDC.
In the consumer segment of the WLAN market, revenues declined 5.7% in the quarter to $2.3 billion, giving the combined enterprise and consumer WLAN markets year-over-year growth of 4.6% in 2Q21.
The growth in the enterprise-class segment of the market builds on a strong first quarter of 2021 when revenues increased 24.6% year over year. For the first half of 2021, the market increased 23.5% compared to first two quarters of 2020. Compared to the second quarter of 2019, 2Q21 revenues increased 10.8%, indicating that demand in the enterprise WLAN is strong.
Enterprise WLAN market growth in 2Q21 driven by Wi-Fi 6
Growth in the enterprise WLAN market continues to be driven by the latest Wi-Fi standard, known as Wi-Fi 6 or 802.11ax. Wi-Fi 6 access points made up 56.7% of the revenues in the Dependent Access Point (AP) segment and accounted for 45.0% of unit shipments within the segment. Wi-Fi 5 products, also known as 802.11ac, made up the balance of remaining Dependent AP sales.
Meanwhile, the consumer-class WLAN market declined 5.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the consumer WLAN market enjoyed robust growth as consumers upgraded their wireless connectivity at home. Compared to the second quarter of 2019 the market grew 10.1%, indicating that the market’s fundamentals remain strong.
Wi-Fi 6 products continued to grow in the consumer market, rising to make up 24.5% of the consumer segment’s total revenue, up from 20.3% in 1Q21. Wi-Fi 5 APs still make up the majority of revenues (64.1%) and unit shipments (64.0%).
“The enterprise WLAN market showed strong growth in the second quarter of 2021. On a macro level, economies around the globe continue to re-open as vaccines are rolled out, causing organizations to consider their enterprise connectivity needs,” says Brandon Butler, research manager, Network Infrastructure at IDC.
“Wireless local area networking remains one of the most important technologies for enterprises to provide seamless connectivity, with enterprise-grade security, management, and assurance.”
The market by location
From a geographic perspective, the enterprise WLAN market saw growth across all regions of the world. Growth was particularly strong in Asia: the market in the People’s Republic of China grew 57.9% year over year, while Japan’s market increased 21.9%.
Across the broader Asia/Pacific region, excluding Japan and China, growth was 11.1% year over year with Australia recording an annual increase of 19.6%. Growth was also strong in the Americas where the U.S. market increased 14.3%, Canada’s market grew 18.0%, and the Latin America region increased 19.1%.
In Western Europe, the market grew 21.0% year over year with strength from Germany, which grew 26.0%. Central and Eastern Europe increased 18.7% while the Middle East and Africa region was up 18.6% year over year.
“Growth in the second quarter of 2021 was widespread across all regions of the world,” noted Petr Jirovsky, research director, Worldwide Networking Trackers.
“While year-over-year comparisons in the second quarter of 2021 coincide with the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, sequential growth for many vendors and growth in 2Q21 compared to the second quarter of 2019 indicate positive underlying trends for the enterprise WLAN market’s future growth.”