Western European IT market decline bottomed out – analyst

Shallow growth this year led by software and services

Computer hardware suppliers waiting for their European sales to pick up will have to wait a little longer, market researcher IDC reported today.

Its latest research data suggests hardware sales in Western Europe will remain flat through 2003 and won't show "more positive trends" until 2004.

Blame the war, says IDC, but it also notes, more sensibly, that European business continue to face challenging times, and that's continuing to depress capital investments and IT spending.

But while IT spending may be down, it will start to pick up in the latter part of the year, reckons IDC. Bright spots in the market, it says, include mobility and wireless - surprise, surprise - contributing to a 2003 growth rate of two per cent across the Western Europe technology market as a whole. But packaged software and services will drive the upturn (such as it is). These sectors will grow 3.3 per cent and 2.5 per cent, respectively, IDC predicts.

We understand many companies are focusing on upgrading systems rather than replacing them. That certainly explains the current popularity, say, of PC-133 SDRAM, demand for which is demonstrated by significantly rising prices. PC-133 memory was common in PCs around three years ago, suggesting that organisations are choosing to extend the life of their systems beyond the usual write-down period. ®

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