Worldwide SMB Spending Will Return to Growth in 2010, But Full Recovery Not Expected Until 2011, According to IDC

FRAMINGHAM, MA. – March 23, 2010 – While the impact of the global recession was no surprise, the extent to which small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) were adversely affected was greater than anticipated. As a result, International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts worldwide SMB spending on information technology (IT) will increase by 5.5% over the 2010-2014 forecast period. This is considerably lower than previously forecast.

"The downturn had a devastating impact on SMBs worldwide," said Ray Boggs, vice president, Small/Medium Business and Home Office Research at IDC."Moving forward, small businesses will not follow the past pattern and return to pre-recessions spending levels more quickly than midsize firms. Instead, SMBs of all sizes will remain cautious with their IT spending over the next several years."

Key findings from IDC's SMB forecast include the following:

* Worldwide SMB IT spending will grow to nearly $629.3 billion in 2014. Despite the $17.4 billion spending increase expected in 2010, SMB IT spending levels will not return to 2008 levels until 2011.

* While SMB spending declines affected all categories of hardware, software, and services, the spending recovery will vary by technology type. IDC expects SMB spending on PCs and peripherals to experience the strongest growth, followed closely by packaged software outlays, while systems and storage spending will be the slowest growing.

* SMB spending growth will be strongest in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, although spending will not recover to pre-recession levels until 2011. The developing markets of Asia/Pacific and Latin America will also experience growth of more than 7% throughout the forecast period. SMB spending growth in developed regions will be roughly 3-4%.

* North America, Western Europe, and Japan collectively represent about 70% of worldwide IT spending by SMBs.

"The diversity of the SMB market will continue to be one of its hallmarks," added Boggs. "Given that the developed regions account for the largest share of SMB spending, and the developing regions represent the greatest opportunity for market growth, the global market really becomes a 'tale of two regions.' To succeed, technology providers need to develop separate strategies that address the distinct needs of companies in each of these settings."

The IDC study, Worldwide Small and Medium-Sized Business 2010–2014 Forecast: Recovery and Change in SMB IT Spending by Category and Region (Doc #222409), forecasts spending by small and medium-sized businesses across major geographic regions. Total IT spending is presented for 2010-2014, along with the baseline year of 2009. Detail on spending totals is provided for key hardware, software, and services technology areas: PCs and peripherals, systems and storage, networking equipment, packaged software, and IT services.

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. For more than 46 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting www.idc.com [http://www.idc.com].

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