Sales of Ethernet switches and routers hit a 7-year low in Q1

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Sales of all categories of Ethernet switches and routers were down 14% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to Q1 last year, the worst quarter in seven years, according to Synergy Research Group.

“In a pre-pandemic world we’d have expected total vendor revenues from switches and routers to have been a billion dollars higher that what we actually saw,” said John Dinsdale, a Chief Analyst at Synergy. Revenues for the quarter were $9.1 billion, down from $10.58 billion in last year’s first quarter.

The problem wasn’t entirely that COVID-19 forced businesses to change plans about buying the gear. “On balance the Q1 hit was driven more by supply-chain issues rather than by soft demand,” he said. Demand is still high from service providers, but not so for enterprises, where “some sectors will take several months before returning to some form of normality.” He said the supply-chain problems should be resolved relatively quickly.

First-quarter sales of enterprise routers took a 15% hit vs. last year, but revenues from service-provider routers took the biggest hit, down 19% from Q1 in 2019, according to the research.

Revenues from some classes of hardware did increase though. With networks rapidly deploying 100 GbE and 25 GbE fixed switches, both of those segments actually grew in the first quarter, Synergy said.

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