IDC sees healthy IT growth through 2009

IT laggard industries will represent fastest uptick

The days of double-digit growth may be over, but an uptick in spending by the media, communications and health-care industries will help to keep worldwide IT spending growing at a healthy clip through 2009, IDC predicted Tuesday.

Worldwide IT spending will grow at a compound annual rate of 5.9 percent through the end of 2009 to reach $1.34 trillion, up from $1.06 trillion this year, said Anne Songtao Lu, program manager for IDC's Worldwide Vertical Markets research service.

"From an IT industry perspective it's quite good," she said. "There's no longer the double-digit growth they saw before 2000, but this growth rate, for a lot of quite mature technologies, is very healthy."

The government, manufacturing and banking sectors will continue to account for the lion's share of IT spending worldwide, she said. Government initiatives to put more services online for citizens, and efforts such as the U.K.'s costly national identity card initiative, will help to keep that sector buoyant.

But the fastest growth will come from industries that until recently have been "IT laggards," Lu said, including the health care, media and communications industries.

Efforts by cable companies to provide more Internet and communications services should ensure increased spending in that sector. Meanwhile, Internet service providers are partnering with content providers to offer programming over their networks, she noted.

"When you look at the media and telecommunications industries right now, the boundaries have become very blurred," Lu said.

As the industries vie to outdo each other and pursue the hallowed "triple-play" of voice, video and Internet services, IT vendors stand to benefit. Investments by telcos in 3G (third-generation) wireless services will also boost spending, she said.

Purchases of network equipment, storage gear, PCs and peripherals will drive growth in the media and communications sectors, she said. They will account for $128 billion in IT spending in 2009, up from $95 billion today, IDC predicted.

Consumers are also pulling the industry along. Five years ago they accounted for only about 5 percent of total IT spending, but this year they'll account for almost 10 percent, thanks to the rise of consumer goods like home networks and sophisticated printers for printing photographs at home, according to IDC.

"Another big portion of consumer spending is services, there's very strong growth in that area. Now when you buy those IT products you often get a package with some services included," Lu said.

Consumer spending will stay strong, and continue to account for 9 percent or 10 percent of total spending in 2009, Lu said.

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