Economic turmoil and uncertainty in the United States, Europe, and Japan has left plenty of IT vendors and stockholders fearful of whether more lean days lie ahead. Fortunately, IDC had some reassuring words to offer at a Web conference Wednesday: IT spending is holding fairly steady worldwide with mostly slow, steady growth on the horizon.
The overall report wasn't entirely upbeat, as IDC's growth projections for the PC market worldwide -- a longtime indicator of consumer confidence -- have declined since April. Still, IDC's overall projections for such product segments as storage, software, and particularly mobile devices worldwide, have become rosier.
In the United States, IDC foresees slightly higher growth in IT spending for 2011 than the company predicted in April, up from around 6.8 percent to 7 percent, despite the fact that IDC now expects the PC market to shrink by around 0.4 percent this year instead of rising by just over 1 percent. According to IDC, this trend isn't as big of a concern as it might have been in years past ago when PC sales were a more reliable indicator of IT sales. One possible explanation: The dollars that would traditionally have gone into upgrading PCs may instead be going toward smart mobile computing devices, such as tablets.
IDC also foresees less spending on servers and printers in the United States than it projected in April, but the company's predicting healthier growth for storage sales: Projections shot up from around 5 percent to around 7 percent, thanks at least in part to the rise in big data. Software sales for 2011 also look brighter in the United States as IDC predicts growth of 6 percent instead of around 5 percent.
Growth in spending on IT services in the United States looks to be at around 4.4 percent instead of 4.2, while spending on networking gear is expected to hold steady at around 8 percent.
Globally, the big-picture perspective of IT spending isn't too shabby. In April, IDC predicted overall 2011 growth in worldwide IT spending to hit around 7 percent; the updated figure for June is down just a hair. By category, IDC sees higher-than-expected growth in spending on services (around 4 percent), software (around 5 percent), networking (just over 5 percent), storage (around 4 percent), and servers (around 2.5 percent). IDC's reduced its projections for PCs and printers, though, but both segments should see worldwide growth instead of loss.
The big standout among the various IT product segments is smartphones: IDC predicts growth there of around 37.5 percent worldwide, up from around 36 in April.