COVID-19 Creates Challenges for the U.S. B2B Technology Channel in First half 2020, Reports NPD

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Notebooks, tablets and security software are bright spots driven by education and work from home needs

In the back half of the year there will be many opportunities for companies in the channel to succeed, provided they remain nimble and adjust strategies as needed.

According to The NPD Group’s B2B Distributor and Reseller Tracking Service, U.S. B2B technology channel sales experienced a 5% revenue decline in first half 2020 compared to 2019, as COVID-19 shut down schools, offices and many of the places where B2B technologies thrive. Despite the challenges the channel is experiencing, sales are beginning to trend positively with monthly year over year sales declines improving since May and a number of bright spots across the channel.

As businesses and schools implemented work-from-home and distance learning policies, the hardware and software needed to enable this transition saw high demand. In hardware, notebook (+22%) and tablet (+24%) dollar sales saw double digit growth, with Chromebook sales alone increasing nearly 50% year over year during the first half of the year compared to first half 2019. Notebook accessory sales increased +2% overall, with docking stations (+10%) driving increases as attach to notebooks and tablets improved.

With the transition to working from home, businesses invested in security software during the first half of this year, as the category saw 10% growth making up 25% of total software dollar sales in the U.S. Within security software, Identity and Access Management (+31%) and Gateway and Firewall (+17%) saw the strongest growth. Outside of security software categories, Cloud Infrastructure and PaaS sales trended positively (+21%) as businesses small and large look for overall efficiencies, scalability and cost improvement.

“Security is critical to operating in our current decentralized work environments, and since we expect many companies will keep work from home arrangements even post-COVID, it is likely we’ll see continued growth in areas like Monitoring and Management tools and resources as well,” said Mike Crosby, Director and B2B Technology Industry Analyst, The NPD Group. “In the back half of the year there will be many opportunities for companies in the channel to succeed, provided they remain nimble and adjust strategies as needed.”

Source: The NPD Group, Inc., U.S. B2B Distributor Track® and Reseller Tracking service, Jan.- June 2020 vs. Jan.- June 2019.

About The NPD Group, Inc.
NPD offers data, industry expertise, and prescriptive analytics to help our clients grow their businesses in a changing world. Over 2,000 companies worldwide rely on us to help them measure, predict, and improve performance across all channels, including brick-and-mortar and e-commerce. We have offices in 27 cities worldwide, with operations spanning the Americas, Europe, and APAC. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, books, B2B technology, consumer technology, e-commerce, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, juvenile products, media entertainment, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, toys, video games, and watches. For more information, visit npd.com. Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup and @npdtech.

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Megan Scott
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