2010 PBX Sales in North America Grew 16 Percent
And Cisco reasserted its dominance, re-taking a solid lead over the post-Nortel-acquisition version of Avaya.
Perhaps the only civil thing to be said for the 2009 PBX market in North America is it laid the stage bare for what then could be an improved 2010, or for some, as things turned out, a surprising and rewarding 2010 in terms of PBX line shipments.
2010 was to some degree a breath of fresh air. North America PBX line shipments grew 16 percent over 2009. Although PBX line sales for some manufacturers did fall off, two thirds got uplift in 2010. To put a better face on it, if we consider just those manufacturers who collectively accounted for 90 percent of the 2010 market, everyone saw PBX line sales increase. Among these top vendors, the most notable development was that, despite Avaya’s absorption of Nortel, Cisco moved solidly back into the market-share leadership position, moving decisively ahead of the expanded Avaya.
In North America, 2010 proprietary (as opposed to open-source) PBX sales were 13.6 million lines, 92 percent of which were generated in the US. These figures do not reflect sales of open source PBXs, itself a large market (see Eastern Management Open Source White Paper).
The 16 percent sales growth reflected new system lines sold as well as add-on lines sold to existing PBXs. Add-on PBX line sales increased 18 percent year over year, in effect pulling up those of new PBX systems. Frequently, though not always, add-on lines account for up to one-half of a manufacturer's PBX sales. In 2010 it was not that customers had less money to spend on new PBXs, though that frequently occurred, but rather IP PBXs, which account for half the PBX installed base, are easy to supplement with add-on lines and infrequently require system replacement.
2010 was a year to stand pat. Fewer companies relocated, and just 9 percent of North America PBXs sold were attributable to businesses moving locations or adding branches. Since customer satisfaction with in-place systems and manufacturers ran high in 2010, there was less incentive to displace anything.
A study performed by Eastern Management found the largest justification for new PBX purchases in 2010 was IT managers choosing to reel in operating expenses, and doing so by buying PBXs with functionality equipped to do just that.
SIP trunks were installed on 45 percent of new systems in 2010. One-third of these new SIP-trunk-enabled systems are now sending almost all of their traffic (90 percent of it) over the SIP trunk.
In addition, one third of new PBXs were 90 to 100 percent equipped with SIP phones. Skype, while not in use on three quarters of the new systems, is to a degree employed on the remainder. Softphones are used on 40 percent of the new PBXs.