16 Mar 2021

EMEA External Enterprise Storage Market Still Down in the Fourth Quarter, but All-Flash and Hyperconverged Are Driving Recovery, Says IDC

LONDON, March 17, 2021 — The EMEA external storage systems market value was down 2.8% year on year in dollars and 9.8% in euros in 2020Q4, according to International Data Corporation's (IDC) EMEA Quarterly Disk Storage Systems Tracker. The exchange rate played a central role in making the year-on-year comparison more favorable when looking at it in dollars rather than euros.

Unlike previous quarters, performance was similar across subregions, with Western European value down 2.8% year on year and CEMA down 2.9% (both in dollars). The all-flash-array (AFA) segment also declined, recording a year-on-year fall of 3.9%. The hybrid flash array (HFA) segment was more resilient, with a decline of 0.6%.

The full year 2020 saw a drop of 6.5% in dollars (8.4% in euros), but the AFA segment remained afloat (+3.7% in dollars and +1.6% in euros); it was also the largest segment by value (44%, versus 37% for HFA and 19% for HDD-only).

"While the 2020 economic downturn hit EMEA countries with differing levels of intensity, recent events in the region are changing the way IT infrastructure is purchased and consumed. The requirements for cloud-like consumption models, coupled with distributed IT deployment and wider adoption of digital transformation, will fuel innovation and competitiveness during the recovery," said Silvia Cosso, associate research director, Storage Systems, IDC Western Europe.

Western Europe

Western European external storage market value was down 2.8% in dollars (-9.7% in euros) for the quarter and down 9.8% for the full year (-11.6% in euros).

"However, the AFA segment accounted for more than 45% of total shipments for 2020, up from 41% in 2019, while HCI contributed to almost 16% of external storage value — both pointing to a speeding up in datacenter renovation plans from European enterprises," said Cosso.

Although there are signs of recovery in the subregion, the outlook remains cautious and is heavily dependent on the vaccination rollout — a key factor in the recovery.

Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa

The slowdown in the external storage market in CEMA was expected following the second wave of COVID-19, which led to stricter measures in some countries in the region and more economic setbacks. The decline was 2.9% YoY, with market value at $655.7 million.

The MEA region remained flat, as pending high-end storage projects were finally implemented; along with spending on entry-level solutions, this managed to offset the drop in the midrange.

The CEE market, however, was down. This was mainly due to a decline in the all-flash business for the first time since we started tracking it in the region. The investments in HCI and PBBA continued to accelerate in double digits (44.3% and 26.3% respectively), but the remaining storage projects, typical for the last quarter of the year, were postponed and this led to a decline of nearly 20% in the midrange segment.

"Clearly, the fluctuations in the market reflect the impact of the pandemic on the economy, and 2021 will continue in this vein," said Marina Kostova, research manager, Storage Systems, IDC CEMA. "However, the transformation of the storage consumption and data management segment will continue and, together with the growth in workloads related to AI, 5G, and edge, will lead to even greater storage demand, larger storage capacities, and further flash developments, but with less hardware and in a progressively hybrid environment."

About IDC

IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Disk Storage Systems Tracker enables clients to respond quickly and effectively to today's dynamic storage market. Understanding which global markets and segments are growing and knowing the quarterly adoption curve for new products have become business-critical needs for disk storage vendors, supply chain partners, and the Wall Street financial community.