The worldwide security software market, which experienced lower-than-expected growth due to commoditization of key sub-segments and the decline in growth for two of the top five vendors, still managed to garner revenue totaling $19.9 billion in 2013, a 4.9 percent increase from 2012 revenue of $19 billion, according to a report from IT research firm Gartner.
Although the top two vendors remained the same as last year, with Symantec in first place and McAfee in second place, IBM took third place this year, displacing Trend Micro, which dropped to fourth place.
The three largest regions—North America, Western Europe and Mature Asia/Pacific—accounted for 83 percent of the total security software market in 2013, but displayed a cumulative growth of 4.1 percent, slightly below the market average of 4.9 percent.
"The slower-than-average growth for security software in mature markets is due to the saturation of key segments of the technology market and the highly competitive nature of security deals, driven by an expansion of vendor capabilities into adjacent areas and the continuation of mergers and acquisitions," Ruggero Contu, research director at Gartner, said in a statement. "Additionally, the high penetration rate of consolidated and mature technology areas such as consumer security software, endpoint protection and secure email gateway, has resulted in increased pricing pressure, along with the bundling of capabilities in suite offerings in the identity and access management space and Web access management."
The top four vendors now account for 39 percent of the total security software market, and this is the first time in several years that a broad portfolio vendor such as IBM (that is, not a pure-play security vendor) has been able to enter the top three, the report noted.
"The market experienced slower, but still healthy, growth in 2013. This slightly tempered growth was partly due to the increased commoditization of the endpoint security (particularly consumer endpoint software) and secure email gateway (SEG) subsegments (particularly consumer endpoint software) that in 2013 accounted for around 25 percent of the total security software market," said Contu.
"Overall, the larger trend that emerged in 2013 was that of the democratization of security threats, driven by the easy availability of malicious software and infrastructure that can be used to launch advanced targeted attacks. This ubiquity of security threats has led organizations to realize that traditional security approaches have gaps, thereby leading them to rethink and invest more in security technology," Contu said. "The consequent involvement of the business in security purchase decisions has both a positive and negative effect on software vendor revenue. With every company becoming a technology company, more organizations are now looking to leverage a multitude of data points to become more competitive."
From a regional perspective, the top three regions ranked by year-over-year growth were Emerging Asia/Pacific (12.8 percent), Greater China (11 percent) and Eurasia (9.3 percent).
The report noted the good growth in China's consumer security market is primarily due to the inclusion of advertising revenue sold through free endpoint security software, which is a popular revenue generating method for vendors in the China market.