Strong customer demand for innovative technology solutions such as cloud computing, big data and mobility are countered by concerns about economic uncertainties, pricing pressures and substitution effects in the IT Industry Outlook 2013 released this week by CompTIA.
CompTIA’s consensus forecast projects a growth rate of 3 percent for the global IT industry in 2013, with upside potential of 5.2 percent. The forecast for the U.S. market is slightly lower – 2.9 percent with upside potential of 4.9 percent.
Industry growth projections dovetail with CompTIA’s quarterly IT Industry Business Confidence Index, which, with a reading of 56.8 on a 100-point scale, remains flat heading into 2013.
Not surprisingly, the fiscal cliff that has surrounded Washington, D.C. and the U.S. as a whole, contributed to these results. “The fiscal cliff turmoil certainly clouded the 2013 outlook,” Tim Herbert, vice president, research, CompTIA, said in a press statement. “Technology has never been more important, but persistent economic headwinds force many customer segments to remain conservative with their investments.”
The survey data indicates IT industry executives view the IT services segment (3.4 percent growth forecast with 5.6 percent upside) and the software segment (3 percent forecast, 5 percent upside) as holding the most promise in 2013. Hardware sales – with many categories experiencing high unit growth, but downward pressure on prices – are expected to grow by just 1.8 percent (3.6 percent upside).
“Reaching the upside of the forecast range will require macroeconomic stability, steady business confidence and healthy customers,” Herbert added. “There is good reason to believe the IT industry will hit the upside of growth projections, but there is still enough uncertainty to warrant caution.”
CompTIA sees 2013 as another transitional year, as incremental advances in a number of areas make their marks on the IT industry and the broader economy, according to the industry trade organization, the following trends are the ones to watch:
Macro Trends to Watch:
• Progress Along the Innovation Leaning Curve Pays Dividends.
• Expectations Reset: The Push for Faster, Larger, Easier and Safer.
• Open and Transparent Further Displaces Closed and Hidden.
• The Distributed Economy Deepens.
Technology Trends to Watch:
• Technology Continues its Transition from Supporting Tool to Strategic Driver.
• Mobility Becomes a Way of Life … for Employees and Customers.
• Companies Begin Taking Cloud Computing for Granted.
• The Big Data Phenomenon Will Force Companies to Review Data Practices.
• Communication and Collaboration Get a Boost from the Cloud.
IT Channel Trends to Watch:
• Managed Services: Upping the Game.
• Navigating the New Channel Ecosystem.
• Specialization: Tackling Growing Markets.
• Convergence Creates Strange Bedfellows.