Western Europe declined 1% year on year, interrupting the positive trend built up in the last three quarters. “Western Europe’s sluggish performance is down to deferred customer orders in view of model renewals, as well as still weak economies across the region,” said Silvia Cosso, storage systems analyst with IDC Western Europe. “From a price band perspective, the high-end class dropped heavily for the fourth quarter in a row, as customers are shifting to the midrange. This trend is also aggravated by seasonality factors, with large accounts pushing back investments later in the year.”
From a country perspective, traditionally strong economies such as France and most of the Nordics were on the negative side, while trends in crisis-battered economies such as the Iberian Peninsula, Greece, and Ireland remained volatile — a sign that the recovery could still be some way off. Overall, with France progressively losing ground since the second quarter of 2013, the Western European market is increasingly dependent on Germany and the U.K., both of which recorded single-digit growth.
The external storage market in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (CEMA) dropped slightly, with 2.4% annual growth, while capacity jumped 30%. The two subregions demonstrated similar behavior.
The Central and Eastern European (CEE) region was pulled down by weak performance in most of the countries. “Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and some other CIS countries witnessed significant cutbacks in storage spending by both public and private sectors due to the Ukrainian-Russian situation and dependence on the unstable Russian economy,” said Marina Kostova, systems storage analyst with IDC CEMA. “The Russian storage market itself grew modestly to reflect the shorter investment cycle in 1Q and changes in tender legislation.”
Middle East and African (MEA) countries suffered the most from the sharp drop in high-end storage system shipments, which contracted more than 50% since last year. Mobile telecommunication companies and large retailers reconsidered their investment strategy, focusing on converged infrastructure and server consolidation at the expense of storage hardware. The midrange systems segment demonstrated double-digit growth, but was unable to affect overall external storage market performance in the region.