Top anti-virus brands lost market share in 2010 as new entrants push up: Gartner

Symantec was the biggest anti-virus vendor in 2010, according to the latest numbers from IT market research firm Gartner, even as small competitors nibbled away at bigger brands’ businesses during the year.

Against a 12% increase in overall security software (anti-virus) market, Symantec was able to increase its revenues by just 5.8%. It was followed, in market share, by Intel’s McAfee.

Symantec’s market share has fallen from around 25% in 2007 to 18.9% in 2010, according to the latest numbers. McAfee, the number two, has more or less retained its market share with 10.4% last year compared to 10.8% in 2007.

“Products within the security market are undergoing rapid evolution, in terms of both new delivery models — with security as a service showing increasing popularity — and new technologies being introduced, often by startup companies,” said Ruggero Contu, principal research analyst at Gartner.

Nevertheless, Garnter said the growth was a welcome signal after the slump seen in 2009.

“The 2010 results show that overall vendor revenue demonstrated a rebound in growth after a sharp fall in performance in 2009 due to the slow economy and tight IT budgets,” it pointed out.

The biggest growth was by ‘others’ — implying that the top five brands were losing market share. The smallest of the top five, EMC, was the only one which could grow faster than the market (see table.) ‘Others’, on the other hand, grew by 15.9% to take a total of 55.7% of the market. The others also includes the Russian brand Kaspersky Labs.

Gartner divides the market into four layers:

    1.Large vendors Symantec and McAfee
    2.Broad vendors such as Trend Micro, IBM, EMC, Cisco and CA Technologies
    3.Specialized midsize vendors, such as Kaspersky, Websense, Sophos, Blue Coat Systems and ESET
    4.Large IT vendors with a small presence in the security space and small players