NPD Research: Hottest Product Categories, Technologies

The Facts Don't Lie

To a large extent, market research is among the key drivers of information technology. With the myriad decisions to be made on a day-by-day basis, executives often like to read the tea leaves on decisions being made by their peers. If, for example, a lot of other people are making the same decision toward which you are leaning, then maybe that serves to validate the decision. If no one else is doing it, perhaps that means it's time to take a harder look. The NPD Group leverages data from VARs and distributors to get a sense of what's going on out there. Here are some of its findings.

Top-Ranked Product Categories, Q4 2012

Based on feedback from VARs participating in its survey, here are the top 10 areas bringing in the most bucks.

1. Networking devices

2. PCs

3. Warranties

4. Network storage

5. Monitors

6. Hard disk drives

7. Tablets

8. Printers

9. Power equipment

10. PC memory

Top Growth Areas

In terms of what's moving the needle, four areas are posting high growth, according to the channel.

1. SSDs up 284 percent

2. Monitors up 134 percent

3. Warranties up 133 percent

4. Tablets up 37 percent

Not-So-Hot Technology Areas

It comes as no surprise that not all technology areas are in growth mode. The survey identified two key areas where the "chips" are down.

1. Chips down 24 percent

2. PC memory down 8 percent

Average Selling Prices (from VAR data)

How much for a good thing? Price has always been a relative value, and nowhere is that more true than in information technology. According to the survey, here are average selling prices for the following areas:

Desktop computers: $647.57

Notebook computers: $905.64

Monitors: $205.65

Laser single function printers: $648.96

Servers: $4,124.48

Disk enclosures: $4,933.43

Solid state drives: $536.92

Wireless network devices: $1,484.66

Wired Networking Dollar Volumes By Brand, 2012

In the area of good old-fashioned wired networking, every solution provider knows the top household names. According to the researcher, here are the industry leaders in wired networking on a dollar-for-dollar basis:

1. Cisco: $471M

2. HP: $163M

3. Brocade: $28M

4. Enterasys: $26M

5. Juniper: $21M

6. Citrix: $20M

7. SonicWall: $13M

8. Barracuda: $12M

9. Extreme: $11M

10. F5: $8M

Total Notebook Unit Share, Q4 2012

Although tablets and smartphones get most of the publicity, many of us still use notebook computers. Based on the sales data reported to the NPD Group, here are the respective market shares for the overall notebook space:

1. Lenovo: 32.3 percent

2. HP: 31.2 percent

3. Acer: 18.4 percent

4. Panasonic: 6.3 percent

5. Samsung: 3.4 percent

6. Dell: 2.8 percent

7. Asus: 1.7 percent

8. Apple: 1.4 percent

9. Toshiba: 1.2 percent

10. Fujitsu: 0.6 percent

11. Sony: 0.5 percent

Windows 8 Notebook Unit Share, Q4 2012

NPD also took a look at the portion of the notebook market tied directly to Windows 8. Here are the market shares for those off to an early lead with the new Microsoft operating system:

1. Lenovo: 55.7 percent

2. HP: 31.9 percent

3. Acer: 3.8 percent

4. Sony: 3.0 percent

5. Samsung: 2.8 percent

6. Asus: 1.8 percent

7. Toshiba: 1.0 percent

Reasons For Increased Notebook Spend

During difficult economies, very few people are in a position to make expenditures without a highly justifiable reason. When it comes to buying new notebooks, here are the top reported reasons:

1. Upgrade equipment: 30 percent

2. Upgrade software: 23 percent

3. Increased growth: 21 percent

4. Increased staff/locations: 20 percent

5. Pricing: 6 percent