2010 IT Industry Economic Outlook Looking Up

The CompTIA IT Industry Business Confidence Index experienced its largest jump ever in December 2009, reflecting renewed optimism and strengthening balance sheets among IT companies. The December rating jumped 6.3 points to 56.6, marking the first time net positive opinions exceeded net negative opinions. The December results come on the heels of a relatively stagnant confidence reading for most of 2009.

Over the next six months, IT industry executives expect further strengthening of the U.S. economy, the IT industry and their companies. The group forecasts an additional 6.5 point increase in confidence, moving the rating into a solidly positive range on the 100-point scale.

“Many macro-economic indicators have improved over the past six months, lending factual support to the positive perceptions of IT executives,” said Tim Herbert, vice president, research at CompTIA, in a statement. “Yet some big unknowns still loom, such as unemployment, the impact of public sector debt and the tight lending and credit market. Until these factors start to turn around, exuberance about an economic recovery will rightfully be tempered.”

The impact on the IT industry will be evident as executives perform the delicate balancing act of investing in the future, through research and development and new business investments, while at the same time maintaining cutting costs, Herbert said.

Among other positive findings from the December survey, 34% of IT executives said they intend to increase capital expenditures in the next six months, compared to 24% in September. On the employment front, 31% of IT executives plan to increase staffing, up from 24% in the September survey.

IT industry executives predict the global IT spending growth rate will be in the 2% to 4% range in 2010, with the U.S. market trailing slightly. Executives are most bullish on IT services, which they predict will grow 2.5% to 5.5% percent in 2010. When asked about 2010 market opportunities, IT executives are most interested in:

  • Security products and services;
  • Healthcare IT market;
  • Green IT opportunities; and
  • Virtualization products and services.

Executives surveyed also identified several macro level trends to watch in 2010:

  • Seventy five percent (75%) think the trend of consumer technologies exerting influence on the enterprise will continue to accelerate.
  • Eighty percent (80%) said businesses will accelerate their use of alternative business applications via a software-as-a service model.
  • Seventy eight percent (78%) believe reliance on mobility, telework and virtual offices will grow this year.

CompTIA’s IT Industry Business Confidence Index is an aggregation of three metrics: opinions of the U.S. economy, opinions of the IT industry, and opinions of one’s company. The survey was conducted in mid-December among a sample of more than 300 U.S.-based IT companies, including IT solution providers, value-added resellers, hardware and software firms and others.

The full report is available at no cost to CompTIA members at www.CompTIA.org.