Sam Naman, Research and Business Development Manager at CONTEXT
European distribution sales of unified communications (UC) products have surged by 76% so far this year compared to the same period in 2020, with more modest growth expected for the second half of 2021, according to CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.
CONTEXT’s figures cover the entire UC market, including collaboration headsets, cameras, speakers, microphones, room systems, hubs, IP phones and display systems.
They highlight the continued popularity of these products, driven by mass home working and studying during the pandemic. Unit sales in the year-to-date (YTD) were even higher (111%) when compared to 2019 figures from the same period.
Alongside strong growth in unit sales, CONTEXT revealed UC revenue growth year-on-year (YTD) of 56% and of over 103% versus 2019.
Unit sales in the first quarter of 2021 grew 74% year-on-year to hit 5.4 million units, and in the first two months of Q2 2021, growth stood at 75% (2.5 million units).
However, when viewed month-by-month the recent story is one of slowing growth in UC unit sales: across Europe, both in actual units from January to May and compared to prior year. The expectation is that these rates could come down further in the coming months due to strong comparatives with 2020, when lockdown demand was extremely high.
“Vendors have given feedback that demand is tailing off, especially for headsets and cameras, while back orders are being fulfilled. This may suggest that the UC market is returning to more ‘normal’ levels in the near future”, said Sam Naman, Research and Business Development Manager at CONTEXT. “However, this very much depends on the circumstances in each country across the region. This includes how quickly lockdowns are eased and workers are encouraged back to the office, as well as whether there are any government schemes to spur IT purchases, as in the UK.”
To this end, the UK government’s “Super-deduction” initiative, which allows companies to cut their tax bill by up to 25p for every £1/€1,17 they invest in IT and other equipment, is expected to boost sales in the coming months.
This matters, as the UK, along with Germany, accounts for almost 50% of the volume market in the top six Europe countries (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Poland and Spain).
Overall across the top six there’s been 64% year-on-year revenue growth (YTD) and 88% versus the same period in 2019, and 80% year-on-year volume growth, rising to 111% versus 2019.
CONTEXT expects growth rates in the second half of 2021 to be driven by customers across all business size segments.