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Gartner, IDC update IT spending forecasts

Research firm Gartner reduced its expectations for 2012 IT spending this week, even as IDC suggested that small and midsize businesses could spend a record amount on IT technologies and services.

First the not-so-great news: Gartner now believes that global IT spending will increase only about 2.5 percent in 2012, compared with 2011 levels. It previously had hoped for a 3.7 percent growth. Overall, spending should reach about $3.7 trillion by December 2012, the research firm predicted.

Mind you, one of the motivations behind the new forecast is currency fluctuations, as the dollar strengthens against other currencies. So, even though revenue will be lower than anticipated, that doesn’t necessarily mean there will be fewer projects than expected.

Now for the more positive information released this week, which has to do with SMB spending expectations.

Gartner predicted that spending will reach $874 billion in 2012, expanding to $1 trillion over the next four years. Midsize organizations will offer the most opportunities for technology solution providers during that timeframe, mainly because of their spending on enterprise software, Gartner reported.

IDC’s latest SMB forecast, specific to the 8 million companies of this size in the United States, predicts a “record-breaking” year for the sector.

IDC projected that IT spending by U.S.-based SMBs will reach $138 billion in 2012. Small businesses will lead the way in personal computers and peripherals, spending about twice the amount on these technologies as midsize companies, IDC estimated.

One-quarter of the spending will go toward IT services, or about $38 billion in 2012. Systems and storage represent the slowest growing category from a revenue standpoint, IDC said.

One sector in which SMB spending differs dramatically from those of enterprise is networking, IDC reported. This category will account for the smallest amount of spending; that is in contrast with larger companies, which are investing heavily in next-generation data center and networking infrastructure.

Realistically, the difference isn’t that surprising: many smaller companies still rely on consumer broadband and wireless services for access. Only one-third of them have actually invested in networking infrastructure, IDC estimated.

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