IDC's European Vertical Markets group has recently released the latest data regarding Western European IT spending forecasts by vertical market. Overall software is expected to be the fastest growing segment in Western Europe, followed by services (driven by operations). Hardware spending is also expected to recover in 2006. Western European IT demand is increasing only gradually and remains strictly connected to the business requirements that characterize the different vertical markets.

Highlights from this study include:

  • The public sector will continue to offer the best short-term growth opportunities. Demand will continue to be stronger at a local level and in healthcare (both expected to achieve growth of 6.8 percent in 2006), slightly lower (6.0 percent) in central government, and modest in education (3.2 percent).
  • Finance is expected to remain an attractive sector in 2006, with all the single verticals (banks, insurance, and other finance) expected to exhibit IT expenditure growth rates close to the total average of 3.8 percent.
  • IT growth in manufacturing in 2006 will be at a positive but modest level, lower than the general average, in both sub-verticals: discrete manufacturing (2.2 percent) and process (2.8 percent). Overall compliance is expected to be a key driver of IT spending in the sector. The U.K. and Spain are offering the most opportunities.
  • Spending in the transport sector will recover quite well in 2006 compared to the recent past, reaching 3.2 percent growth in 2006 (close to the average).

"Government (especially local authorities) and healthcare will be the fastest growing vertical markets in 2006. IT demand is also improving in other vertical markets, but specific drivers and the speed of adoption vary considerably between different vertical markets," said Giuliana Folco, research director, European Vertical Markets.

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