Global unit shipments of IT racks and enclosures are forecast to grow 2.9% in 2015 accompanied by 4.4% revenue growth, according to a recently published IHS report: IT Racks and Enclosures Report – 2015. Overall data center infrastructure growth has been lethargic over the past two years due to a combination of factors including global economic weakness, IT equipment improvements, outsourcing and consolidation, and competitive pressure. Growth in the IT rack and enclosure market is slightly stronger than the forecast growth of other data center infrastructure products like uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) and cooling equipment, but weaker than that of the rack PDU market.

While rack PDU growth is driven by product shifts toward higher-priced intelligent PDUs leading to higher replacement rates, most other data center infrastructure equipment, including IT racks and enclosures, is not replaced nearly as often and is, therefore, largely dependent on new data center construction. “The IT rack and enclosure market typically experiences higher growth rates than the UPS and cooling markets because of the slight product shifts occurring: from two-post to four-post, from four-post to enclosures, and from basic racks to premium racks,” says IHS analyst Sarah McElroy. The increased use of cable management and passive airflow accessories contributes to market growth as well.

Enclosures continue to dominate the market, accounting for 86% of units shipped in 2014. They have a higher price point than open frame racks and have a number of benefits over open frame including enhanced airflow management capabilities, better cable management options, more stability, security, and even aesthetic appeal. Enclosures are expected to continue seeing more growth than open frame racks. After enclosures, accessories are the second fastest growing segment of this market in revenue terms, which is justified considering the benefits they add to overall efficiency.

IHS regularly analyzes all aspects of the data center infrastructure market. IT Racks and Enclosures Report - 2015 provides in-depth analysis across three world regions: the Americas, EMEA, and Asia. Unit shipments, average unit prices, and revenues are estimated for 2013 and 2014 and forecast through 2018. The market is segmented by sub-region, product type, dimension, application, channel, color, and vertical market. Supplier market share estimates are presented, and an analysis of the competitive environment is also provided.