In spite of lingering concerns over the sustainability of economic growth and corporate profits, IT spending in 2006 was largely in line with expectations, said Stephen Minton, IDC's Worldwide IT Markets analyst.
"It's going to be similar to last year," said Minton. "The biggest difference obviously is we have the Windows Vista upgrade going on and because of that there's going to be a little bit of a push for PC shipments."
As a result, IDC currently predicts the U.S. IT market growth in the next 12 months will largely mirror the overall rate of expansion recorded in 2006, although growth will shift between various market sectors as strategies are realigned.
Key findings include:
The Big Picture
In 2006, the U.S. economy, overall, proved resilient in the face of negative wild cards, including a rapid rise in oil prices during the first half of the year and a slowdown in the real estate market in the second half of the year.
As a result, and with some pent-up demand for IT infrastructure upgrades still having an effect, overall IT investment increased by around six percent on the previous year.
The outlook for 2007 is already clouded by a wide array of opinions and conflicting indicators, however. On the downside, some economists continue to predict a general cooling of growth in the next 12 months, largely relating to the correction in the U.S. housing market.
Energy prices are still a wild card and could further depress consumer spending on other products and services. Corporate profits are widely expected to moderate as a result, and other wild cards could yet push the economy into a more negative scenario.