After recording one of the worst ever declines in 2002, followed by a slight recovery in 2003, IT spending in Western Europe is expected to pick up in 2004 in most verticals, according to the latest forecasts published by IDC’s European vertical market expertise centre. Overall, vertical markets’ IT demand will be increasingly selective and focused on solutions for solving specific business issues along companies’ value chains.
“IT spending in central and local government, healthcare, banking, utilities, education, and business services is forecast to grow more than 3 per cent in 2003, with services presenting the most opportunities,” said Giuliana Folco, programme director for IDC’s European vertical markets group.
“Meanwhile, communications and transport will remain tough sectors in the short term, although communications is expected to become one of the most attractive vertical markets in Europe, once the sector fully recovers, she added.
According to IDC, last year was a tough one for IT spending in Western Europe: with the delay in economic recovery, businesses shifted their emphasis from increasing revenue to reducing costs, with consequent postponements of large-scale, long-term projects.
Some of the trends that shaped vertical markets’IT demand in 2002 (and in the early months of 2003) will remain evident throughout the rest of 2003. A general improvement is expected, with total IT growth forecast to be slightly positive at 0.4 per cent, driven by a moderate increase in software and services.
A more pronounced (but still gradual) IT recovery is not expected until 2004 in most verticals, but none of them will return to double digit growth in the forecast period.
Spain is expected to be the most attractive country for most vertical sectors and country differences must be considered. While local governments are generally expected to grow faster in most European countries, they will suffer from budget trouble in Germany, where most growth will occur in central government. Public services, whose IS budgets are relatively stable also in tough times, will be the fastest growing segments in Western Europe.
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