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IDC forecast suggests IT spending growth will outpace economy

Stagnant economy got you down? The good news it that market researcher IDC is predicting IT spending growth this year will grow much faster than the economy at large, as measured by U.S. gross domestic product.

Its latest forecast calls for overall growth for enterprise and public sector IT to reach 5.6 percent through 2011, compared with the 3 percent growth rate anticipated for the GDP across various economic forecasts. Projects in security, business analytics and “smart technologies” will get the most priority in the spending mix, according to IDC’s survey data.

The top verticals for the rest of the year: healthcare (no brainer), professional services (yup), and (gasp) communications and media. I want to know who is spending money in the media business. Seriously!

How does the IDC forecast compare with some of the other numbers that have been thrown around in recent months? Back in the beginning of April, Forrester Research predicted that overall growth would reach about 8 percent with growth in software sales a bit higher than that. That is obviously higher than the IDC forecast (which, as you know, is more recent). Gartner’s most recent overall prediction, from the end of March, is pretty much the same as IDC’s new one at 5.6 percent.

Gartner, like Forrester, is particularly positive on prospects for software. Just last week, the firm predicted that worldwide enterprise software revenue would increase by 9.5 percent this year to reach $267 billion. In North America, spending is forecast to reach $121.2 billion, up from $112.9 billion in 2010.

Incidentally, there should be another overall IT spending forecast out from Gartner in a matter of days. We’ll watch for it.

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