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Worldwide WLAN Market Shows Strong Performance in Fourth Quarter of 2012, According to IDC

The combined consumer and enterprise worldwide wireless local area network (WLAN) market segments experienced year-over-year growth of 18.2% in the fourth quarter of 2012 (4Q12). According to the 4Q12 results published in the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly WLAN Tracker, the enterprise segment continued on its path of solid growth with an impressive 28.5% increase over the same period last year. The fourth quarter was the seventh consecutive quarter with annual growth in excess of 20%. For the full year 2012, the enterprise WLAN market increased 26.6% year over year, the third year in a row of percentage growth in the high twenties. The consumer WLAN market also finished the year on a relative high note and increased 8.2% year over year in 4Q12 with the full year 2012 growing at 6.2% year over year.

"Rapid growth with bring your own device (BYOD) continues to drive increased WLAN infrastructure rollouts in the enterprise, and is the single largest factor driving increased innovation and differentiation in areas such as security policy and application classification," said Rohit Mehra, Vice President, Network Infrastructure, at IDC. "The second key factor driving growth is the increasing use of Wi-Fi by cellular operators and managed service providers, a trend that is likely to drive increased volumes for enterprise-class access points over the next few years."

From a geographic perspective, the enterprise WLAN market performed especially well in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) where it increased 43.8% year over year in 4Q12, as China recovered from a lackluster 3Q12 and increased a very healthy 53.4% year over year this quarter. North America and Latin America both were also solid in 4Q12 and increased more than 33% year over year. Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Japan were relatively weaker in 4Q12 but still both managed to increase almost 15% on an annual basis.

For the full year 2012 the highest growth regions in the enterprise WLAN market were Latin America and Japan, which grew 38.7% and 38.6% year over year respectively, followed by North America (29.7%), EMEA (21.1%), and Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) (20.9%).

"With almost all regions contributing to continued growth, and strong results from the enterprise, service provider, and consumer segments, the outlook for the overall WLAN market remains very positive, and that is further reinforced from our surveys indicating that enterprise mobility remains high on the priority list of many CIOs," said Petr Jirovsky, senior research analyst, Worldwide Networking Trackers Group.

Enterprise WLAN Vendor Highlights

  • Cisco's 4Q12 worldwide enterprise WLAN revenue grew a strong 28.1% year over year reaching $545 million in the quarter. Cisco's full year 2012 revenues were $1.96 billion, representing a 29.3% annual increase, which was slightly ahead of the total market. The North American market accounted for 54.4% of Cisco's worldwide enterprise WLAN revenue in 2012. Cisco's worldwide market share stands at 50.7% in 4Q12, on par with 4Q11.
  • Aruba (excluding its OEM business) grew its revenues 16.4% year over year in 4Q12, and now holds 10.6% of the enterprise WLAN market. Aruba's full-year 2012 annual growth reached 22.5%.
  • HP underperformed the overall enterprise WLAN market in 4Q12 with modest growth of 1.2% year over year. As a result HP's market share declined from the 6.5% recorded in 4Q11 to 5.1% this quarter.
  • Ruckus continued to outperform the overall market and increased 47.8% year over year in 4Q12, even though its quarter-over-quarter growth was a small 0.7%. For the full year 2012, its revenue grew 82.7% over the previous year.

A graphic showing the top 5 vendors in the worldwide enterprise WLAN market for 4Q12 is available at Instructions on how to embed this graphic into online news articles and social media can be found by viewing this press release on

The IDC Worldwide Quarterly WLAN Tracker provides total market size and vendors share data in an easy-to-use Excel Pivot Table format. The geographic coverage includes 8 major regions (USA, Canada, Latin America, AP excluding Japan, Japan, Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa) and 52 countries. The WLAN market is further segmented by product class, product type, product, standard, and location. Measurement for the WLAN market is provided in factory revenue, customer revenue, and unit shipments.

For more information about IDC's Worldwide Quarterly WLAN Tracker, please contact Kathy Nagamine (

About IDC Trackers

IDC Tracker products provide accurate and timely market size, vendor share, and forecasts for hundreds of technology markets from more than 100 countries around the globe. Using proprietary tools and research processes, IDC's Trackers are updated on a semiannual, quarterly, and monthly basis. Tracker results are delivered to clients in user-friendly excel deliverables and on-line query tools. The IDC Tracker Charts app, available at iTunes, allows users to view data charts from the most recent IDC Tracker products on their iPhone and iPad.

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. For more than 49 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting

All product and company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

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