Out with a bang, not a whimper

Many of us feel a sense of relief that 2009 is coming to a close – and hope that better times are ahead in 2010. Indeed, that’s what many of the analyst firms are predicting, though they caution that recovery will be slow.

The worldwide spending forecast for IT is projected to increase 5.5 per cent by 2011 and 5.6 per cent by 2010, according to IDC. Most technology categories will see growth in 2010 over 2009, including PCs, storage, networking, software and services (but not servers, a category that still needs more time to recover). Virtualization, hosted infrastructure services, data management and data security should all do well.

Mobility is one area that will see dramatic growth, according to IDC, and the number of mobile technology users will triple in 2010. Part of that is due to the rise of nontraditional mobile devices, such as sensors, surveillance cameras and medical technologies, which are expected to grow by a factor of 3.6. IDC says we’ll also start seeing 4G hype.

We can also expect to see that long-awaited PC refresh cycle, though it may not actually take off until the second half of 2010 (meaning the first half is a good time to prepare and ramp up). The release of Windows 7, an aging installed base and more stability in the economy all add up to good news for the channel.

Bob Dutkowsky, Tech Data’s CEO, is expecting to see PC upgrades in the second half of 2010, but they’ll be smaller and slower, taking place over time rather than a big bang approach since CFOs are sitting on dollars as long as they can. Dell has publicly stated that it will use distribution to fulfill the upcoming PC upgrade cycle. And IDC predicts PCs will be back on track for double-digit unit growth in 2010.

The Global Technology Distribution Council – which represents IT distributors – is also predicting growth in IT. The council reported that third-quarter sales increased 10.7 per cent in the U.S. and 2.3 per cent in Europe, compared to the second quarter. Tim Curran, GTDC’s CEO, stated that we’re not out of the woods, but “we’re still very encouraged by the current positive sales trends in distribution, particularly in the SMB space.”

D&H Distributing – which caters to SMB solution providers – is a testament to that. The distie reported that sales are up for the fourth quarter – not just up, but up by 30 per cent. And that means the distie will end 2009 with double-digit sales growth. D&H is positive about 2010, expecting to see a continuation of that sales growth; it plans to help partners focus on infrastructure, mobility and healthcare.

Talk about ending the year with a bang.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Vawn Himmelsbach
Vawn Himmelsbach
Is a Toronto-based journalist and regular contributor to IT World Canada's publications.

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