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Fueled by growth in both hardware and software sales, the U.S. B2B technology market experienced 6 percent dollar growth in 2018, according to The NPD Group’s B2B Distributor and Reseller Tracking Service. During the period, hardware represented 73 percent of revenue and grew 5 percent, while software represented 27 percent of revenue and grew 11 percent.
Strong PC and peripheral sales, as well as rising component prices due to shortages, allowed B2B hardware sales to remain on the rise year over year in 2018. In the B2B indirect channel, notebook sales were up 6 percent, which benefitted peripherals and accessories, as docking stations (+30 percent), PC headset/PC microphones (+28 percent), and USB hubs (+27 percent) all saw dollar sales increases. In the components segment, price increases resulting from product shortages, drove dollar growth in the desktop/server memory (+25 percent), notebook memory (+15 percent), and video cards (+8 percent) categories.
In the software market, the cloud infrastructure and platform as a service (PaaS) category saw strong dollar growth in 2018 with an increase of 21 percent from the year prior. This was driven, in part, by the increasing number of small to medium businesses gaining access to applications that were once out-of-reach, as well as the increasing adoption of hybrid cloud strategies. The storage utilities and management category also experienced noteworthy gains, up 31 percent year over year, as a result of businesses adopting hyperconverged and software-defined storage solutions to gain efficiencies and simplify data center needs. Finally, with security being of paramount importance, growth in the segment resulted in a 12 percent increase versus the prior year.
“The U.S. B2B IT channel experienced a higher percentage of growth than the overall U.S. GDP and it will likely continue to do so in the new year,” said Michael Diamond, director, industry analysis, B2B Technology for The NPD Group. “While there are some economic unknowns as we venture further into 2019, I believe technologies that help organizations stay productive, protect infrastructure, enhance the customer experience, and drive innovation internally will see the greatest success.”
Source: The NPD Group, Inc., U.S. B2B Distributor Track® and Reseller Tracking service, Jan.-Dec. 2018 vs. Jan.-Dec. 2017. Sales are adjusted for 5wk Jan. 2018 vs. 4wk Jan. 2017.
 Hardware sales are inclusive of warranties.
 Notebook computers include BTO devices.
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 2000 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, travel retail, games, and watches / jewelry. For more information, visit npd.com. Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup and @npdtech.