Worldwide Server Market Revenue Declines 4.6% in the Fourth Quarter Amid Continued Softened Enterprise Demand

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The FINANCIAL — According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, vendor revenue in the worldwide server market declined 4.6% year over year to $14.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016 (4Q16).

Overall server market growth has recently slowed in part due to a slowdown in hyperscale datacenter growth and continued drag from declining high-end server sales. In addition, the robust enterprise refresh cycle of 2015 has created difficult comparisons in 2016 to the prior year’s quarterly results. Worldwide server shipments decreased 3.5% to 2.55 million units in 4Q16 when compared with the same year-ago period.

On a year-over-year basis, volume and midrange system revenue decreased 3.3% and 6.1% in 4Q16 to $11.2 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively. Server demand across enterprise portfolios continued to be soft for the quarter. Meanwhile, 4Q16 demand for high-end systems experienced a year-over-year revenue decline of 10.7% to $2.0 billion. IDC expects continued long-term secular declines in high-end system revenue.

“The server market suffered another difficult quarter as most segments declined, including hyperscale deployments, suggesting that the weakness previously seen is more systemic,” said Kuba Stolarski, research director, Computing Platforms at IDC. “Some public cloud datacenter deployments are being delayed and there are indications that overall levels of deployment and refresh may slow down even through the long term as hyperscalers continue to evaluate their hardware provisioning criteria. On the enterprise side, we are seeing ongoing weakness as companies struggle to decide whether to deploy workloads on premises or off, and continue to consolidate existing workloads on fewer servers.”

Overall Server Market Standings, by Vendor Group

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) retained the number 1 spot in the worldwide server market with 23.6% market share in vendor revenue for 4Q16, as revenue decreased 12.2% year over year to $3.5 billion. HPE’s share and year-over-year growth rate includes revenues from the H3C joint venture in China that began in May of 2016; as a result, the reported HPE/New H3C Group combines server revenue for both companies globally. Dell Technologies maintained its number 2 position in the worldwide server market with 17.6% of vendor revenue for the quarter, while revenue increased 0.1% year over year to $2.6 billion. IBM regained its third spot, controlling 12.3% of the market even while vendor revenue declined 17.1% year over year. Lenovo and Cisco remained tied* in 4Q16 and together dropped to the fourth market position with 6.5%, and 6.3% revenue share, respectively. Lenovo’s revenue declined 16.7% to $947 million, while Cisco declined 1.3% to $916 million. For the first time since IDC began tracking the ODM Direct group of vendors in 2013, the revenue attributed to this group has declined year over year by 7.1% to 1.2 billion. Dell Technologies and HPE were statistically tied for first place in overall unit shipments, with 20.9% and 20.4% share, respectively.

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“Other than Dell, which remained relatively flat, all top worldwide vendors experienced global revenue declines year over year,” said Lloyd Cohen, research director, Computing Platforms at IDC. “Just outside of the top 5, Huawei, ranked number six, grew 73.6% year over year. On a positive note for the overall market, average system values increased 9.0% sequentially, growing in all three server classes: volume servers, midrange enterprise and high-end enterprise, as users are increasing their storage and memory capabilities, driven by workload requirements for key workloads like data analytics.”

Top Server Market Findings

Regionally, Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan)(APeJ) and Japan experienced the only positive revenue growth with 4Q16 year-over-year increases of 8.1% and 3.3%, respectively. These were the same two regions that experienced the only positive growth in 3Q16 as well. Within APeJ, China drove overall growth by increasing its revenue 18.8% to $2.7 billion. All other regions continued to decline. Latin America experienced a relatively small decline of 1.1%. The United States declined 7.6% year over year. Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) declined 12.9%, with all sub-regions in decline: Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) declined 25.0%, Western Europe declined 11.8%, and Middle East and Africa (MEA) declined 7.5%. Canada declined by 15.1% year over year. Of all regions, the U.S. remains the largest regional market with 39.2% of worldwide server vendor revenue.

Demand for x86 servers weakened in 4Q16 with revenues decreasing 1.9% year over year in the quarter to $12.2 billion worldwide, while unit shipments decreased 3.3% to 2.53 million servers. x86 average selling prices (ASPs) increased by 1.5% year over year and 2.4% sequentially. HPE led the x86 server market with 26.5% revenue share based on a year-over-year decline of 13.0% in x86 revenue. Dell Technologies retained second place, securing 21.1% revenue share following a 0.1% year-over-year revenue increase. Dell Technologies and HPE were statistically tied for first place in x86 unit share in 4Q16 with 21.0% and 20.5%, respectively.

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Non-x86 servers experienced a revenue decline of 16.7% year over year to $2.4 billion, representing 16.2% of quarterly server revenue. IBM leads the segment with 75.4% revenue share despite a 17.1% year-over-year revenue decline. IDC also continued to track minimal revenue from ARM-based server sales in 4Q16; ARM sales have yet to make an impact on the server market.



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