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Commercial Technology Market Research & Business Solutions

The business of selling technology products into the commercial market is changing. We help our clients get the right products in the right places, at the right prices, for the right people.

You can make sense of the shifts in this market using our commercial technology market research. It’s the industry’s authoritative resource for tracking and sales-out data in the total commercial channel. Tracking data from over 100 manufacturers, commercial resellers, and distributors makes us the only source for this information.

Additionally, our monthly and weekly reports, available for key CE, BTO PC, storage, networking, and software categories, provide timely technology market research information and insights – including unmatched detail down to the item level. We help our clients get the right products in the right places, at the right prices, for the right people.

The NPD Group provides market information and advisory services to help clients make better business decisions. We combine our point-of-sale data and industry expertise to provide comprehensive, high quality technology market research to our respective client bases.

In commercial distribution, we are the only U.S. source for tracking sales-out data in the distribution technology channel. Our monthly and weekly reports, available for key CE, IT, and software categories, provide timely technology market research information and insights – including unmatched detail down to the item level.


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Solutions


Distributor Track

Tap into the only source for tracking sales out data in the B2B technology channel. NPD’s monthly and weekly data service delivers timely market research information and analysis with unmatched, item-level detail. The aggregated sell-through data from the world’s leading IT distributors offer a precise view of distributor sales in all key CE, IT, and software categories. It includes information from members of the Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC), with whom we have an exclusive North American partnership.


Reseller Tracking

Derived from an exclusive panel, Commercial Reseller Track is the source for tracking sales of technology products sold through the largest National Solution Providers, Office Product Dealers and Contract Stationers. Commercial Reseller Track is available as a monthly or weekly data service and provides item-level detail in all key CE, IT and software categories. Combine both Distributor Track and Commercial Reseller Track, for a complete view of the products sold in the U.S. indirect B2B technology channel, all with item-level detail.


VAR Service Invoice

There’s a new way to see exactly what’s happening in the VAR channel. It’s the VAR Invoice Service, and it provides new insights about the products and brands purchased together in the VAR channel. The service provides monthly POS reporting of IT hardware subcategories within networking, computing, printing, storage hardware, and more. It tracks 1,400 brands and provides detail on sales for thousands of IT hardware items.


SMB Technology Monitor

Gain access to new B2B insights on anticipated purchase intentions and spending, brand perceptions, and services attached to PCs, networking equipment, storage systems, servers, and printers. You can use this information to understand small to medium business (SMB) buying behavior and make informed business decisions related to the commercial market. This quarterly report is based on an online survey of SMB technology decision-makers.


Analytic Solutions

NPD’s Analytic Solutions group includes senior leaders with extensive experience developing and delivering analytic solutions that help clients predict areas of risk and growth to improve marketing and product development. By combining NPD’s unique data assets and industry expertise with state-of-the-discipline research techniques and proprietary solutions, our Analytic Solutions team is able to answer clients’ most pressing business questions.



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Reports



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Press Releases


October 10, 2017

Security Appliance Market Sees Double-Digit Dollar and Unit Sales Growth Year to Date in the U.S. B2B Indirect Channel, According to NPD

U.S. dollar and unit sales in the security appliance market are on the rise as companies, large and small, look to protect their information with advanced products, such as next generation firewalls. Year to date, the security appliance market has experienced a 11 percent dollar and 12 percent unit sales growth in the B2B Indirect Channel compared to the same period year ago, according to The NPD Group’s Distributor Track and Commercial Reseller Tracking Service. Comparatively, revenue for the total U.S. B2B hardware market has grown six percent in the same channel over the time period.


September 7, 2017

2017 U.S. "Rising Star" Award Winners Announced During GTDC Vendor Summit

Yesterday the Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC) announced this year’s recipients of its esteemed U.S. Rising Star Awards, which recognize today’s leading technology companies for exceptional sales growth and market share performance through U.S. distributors over the past year. GTDC members drive more than $130 billion in annual worldwide sales of products, services and solutions through diverse business channels.


September 7, 2017

USB-C Compatible Mobile Power Accessory Sales Soar in the U.S., As New Devices Require Consumers to Switch, According to NPD

According to The NPD Group’s Retail Tracking Service, unit sales of USB-C compatible mobile power accessories1 have more than doubled from the first quarter of 2017 (Jan.- March) to the second quarter (April- June) in the U.S. When compared to Q2 2016, sales in Q2 2017 increased more than 10 times, primarily driven by the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ launch this April.


May 3, 2017

All-Flash Array Market Experienced 72 Percent Year-Over-Year Revenue Growth in the U.S. B2B Indirect Channel, According to NPD

U.S. dollar and unit sales of all-flash arrays (AFAs) are rising, as companies leverage them to process growing quantities of data at a faster pace.


February 7, 2017

Large Format Commercial Displays Experience 40 Percent U.S. Revenue Growth in the B2B Indirect Channel in 2016, According to NPD

According to The NPD Group’s Distributor Track and Commercial Reseller Tracking Service, large format commercial displays (LFCDs) saw some of the strongest growth in the B2B indirect channel over the past year, compared to other NPD categories. LFCD sales grew 40 percent year-over-year in the 12 months ending December 2016, driven by customer demand for increasingly larger displays and touchscreen capabilities.


September 13, 2016

Warranties Are Selling With Notebooks at a Consistent Rate Year-Over-Year Despite Growing Chromebook Sales, According to NPD

According to The NPD Group’s VAR Invoice Tracking Service, warranties remain a critical part of the notebook sales purchase. Twenty percent of all notebooks sold with a warranty attached during the 12 months ending April 2016. Year-over-year this has remained consistent despite lower priced products like Chromebooks capturing more notebook sales. In the 12 months ending April 2016, notebook average sales prices (on invoices that included a warranty) fell 22 percent versus the prior year, driven by the strong growth of Chromebooks.


September 8, 2016

2016 U.S. "Rising Star" Award Winners Announced During GTDC Vendor Summit

Yesterday the Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC) announced this year’s recipients of its esteemed U.S. Rising Star Awards, which recognize technology companies with exceptional sales growth and market share performance through U.S. distributors over the past year. GTDC members are the world’s leading technology distributors, driving more than $130 billion in annual product sales worldwide.


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Insights


July 11, 2017

In-Market Testing: How a Leading Tech Company Measured the Effect of Digital Ads on In-Store Sales

One of our clients, a highly successful consumer technology manufacturer, recently launched a new product, which almost immediately garnered brisk sales and a leading position in the market. To ensure continued strong in-store sales, the client’s marketing team wanted to answer one key question: How much does online advertising affect offline sales?


May 24, 2017

B2B Technology Insider

The United States business-to-business channel and Canadian distribution market closed the first quarter slightly down at -0.7 percent and up 6 percent year-over-year, respectively. Our industry analysts have identified key trends and categories to watch in the U.S. and Canada, including all-flash arrays, hyperconverged systems, print and supplies, and notebooks.


May 24, 2017

In-Market Testing: How HP, Inc. Determined the Effect of Its Ad Investment on Printer Sales

While HP, Inc. has a strong track record of measuring marketing campaigns using existing modeling and analytics, they wanted to run a market test to quantify ROI on these campaigns and project returns on future campaigns at a national level.


March 10, 2017

Do You Know What Your Top-Performing Product Is?

How a New Measure, Store-Level Enabled Retail Tracking, Will Change Your Business


September 14, 2016

Using NPD’s VAR Invoice Data to Improve Product Attachment Rates

A leading IT manufacturer wanted to know more about its business with VARs



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Insights and Opinions from our Analysts and Experts


May 30, 2017

I Wouldn’t Do That if I Were You – The Surveillance Market

Physical security and cybersecurity go hand-in-hand with protecting corporate assets; and while news of cybercrime has recently dominated the headlines, issues regarding security as a whole have become top-of-mind for firms of all sizes, regardless of the vertical market. We believe the opportunity for technology sales in the physical security space center on a few key areas.

The business-to-business security and monitoring market saw six percent unit growth in 2016 compared to 2015, and a 13 percent compound annual growth rate from 2013 to 2016, making it one of the fastest growth areas in the B2B IT market. Looking at features and functionality, outdoor cameras grew 32 percent year over year in the B2B Indirect Channel as businesses increasingly employ them in areas such as parking lots, loading docks, gas stations, and more.

From FY 2011 to FY 2017, the Department of Homeland Security’s IT budget has increased from $5.6 billion to $6.5 billion, with projects spanning from remote video surveillance systems to air cargo security. As federal and local governments increase efforts to protect critical infrastructure (e.g., airports, power plants, railways), the need for surveillance products with more sophisticated functionality is critical. In 2016 vs. 2015, cameras with color and infrared capabilities grew 65 percent, while cameras equipped with motion sensors grew 14 percent during the same time period in the B2B Indirect channel. We believe segments with more sophisticated functionality will continue to grow, as key areas of critical infrastructure need to be monitored.

In the private sector, firms are strengthening surveillance strategies to help thwart privacy and security issues and lower shrinkage. In the quick service restaurant segment, businesses often stay open 24 hours, which can boost sales, but can also increase the risk of crime during late night hours. In the healthcare segment, hospital emergency rooms, with large patient volumes and extended wait times, can pose a risk for front-line staff, especially when patients are intoxicated or have psychological issues. Thus, we expect these segments will remain strong for surveillance equipment. 

Finally, the onslaught of economic espionage and the loss of trade secrets to criminals or foreign governments is important to many corporations. While we often picture a hacker behind a computer in a dark room poaching secrets, that’s often not the case. In fact, a lot of theft stems from employees mishandling or taking confidential information from corporate offices, factories and homes. In an effort to protect company secrets, firms must have a solid physical security strategy coupled with a cybersecurity strategy in the data center.

Given the many needs for physical security, we believe the market will continue to grow above traditional IT growth rates. Security cameras are the most common product firms use to solve these security challenges; but, these challenges also provide an opportunity for companies in this market to educate businesses regarding current and emerging threats, as well as which solutions can be used to neutralize them.


January 25, 2017

Commercial Tech Grows With The Times

The start of a new year is a time for reflection and resolutions. As we move through January we often shape and finalize goals and objectives for the upcoming year. However, in the business world the most important question is how did the last year end? How did the market do and how did my business do? Will we see decline or growth in the year to come? These are great questions which can, and should, be examined.

This year I thought it would be fitting to begin the New Year with a brief analysis of how the Canadian IT Hardware distribution market fared in 2016. According to The NPD Group, the industry posted positive growth of +6 per cent in 2016 over the previous year.

There are a few categories that helped spur this growth. Categories like Notebooks, Large Format Commercial Displays and Solid State Drives all posted double digit growth on the year. Tablets in particular had a role to play in the overall growth of the commercial market in 2016.

Tablets posted an overall growth of +13 per cent for the year. However, if we exclude the retail channel which gives us a pure commercial view, the Tablet category actually grew an impressive of +59 per cent.  This is especially encouraging given the lackluster growth that Tablets have seen in the consumer market over the last 3 years. 

But why has the category seen such stellar growth in the commercial market?

As you can imagine, the use of Tablets is widespread in the commercial space. Not only are they being used by businesses (both large and small) for productivity but they are also being used in places like doctors’ offices and medical clinics, where physicians can take notes and print prescriptions quickly and easily. Other niche businesses are also beginning to utilize Tablets to organize processes and reduce paperwork. For example, if you have visited or taken your children to a paint ball arena, rock climbing gym, or indoor playground, you will notice that owners/operators of these businesses are often utilizing Tablets to manage consent forms, waivers and registration. Another common application includes their use in restaurants where your orders are taken and sent directly to the kitchen for speedy prep and payment.

These applications are also driving certain product sales. For example, it is not surprising that the use of larger Tablets in these environments is common. NPD distributor track non-retail data shows that Tablets with screen sizes of 10+ inches almost doubled their revenue in 2016 vs. the year prior.

While Tablets have quickly become a useful tool for businesses of all kinds, the question remains whether or not this momentum will continue, and for how long?

My contention is that as long as businesses are able to save time and money by leveraging Tablets the category will continue to grow in the commercial space.


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