Technology spending tagged for growth

U.S. companies will spend slightly more on tech this year than they did last year, says a new study by IDC, which sees a continued rise over the next five years.

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U.S. companies will spend slightly more on technology this year than they did last year, according to a new study by IDC.

Researchers predicted IT spending will grow 1.5 percent in 2003 to $372 billion. The report, U.S. IT Spending Forecast by Vertical Market, 2003-2007, also predicted a compounded growth rate of 4.9 percent over the next five years, with IT spending reaching $467 billion by 2007.

Researchers said growth will vary by sector, and the financial and manufacturing industries will provide the biggest opportunities for tech companies.

"Although U.S. IT spending is growing at a slower pace overall, the current and future opportunities widely vary by vertical industry," said Anne Lu, senior analyst for worldwide vertical markets at IDC.

The report said the largest IT markets will be in manufacturing, banking, government and services, as those sectors need to replace their older applications.

Researchers also said that the government's focus on homeland security, e-government and other initiatives will drive IT spending in the public sector.

IDC suggested that tech companies hoping to capitalize on the trend dedicate their resources to solving problems that are specific to each industry rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach.

Other reports on tech spending have made similar suggestions, saying that buyers are more apt to scrutinize their IT purchases in a sluggish economy.

The IDC predictions for tech spending are similar to those made last month by Forrester, which forecast a 1.9 percent growth rate in 2003.

A study by Goldman Sachs wasn't quite as optimistic. That report, which surveyed 100 chief information officers at major U.S. companies, predicted that business spending on computer hardware and software will decline by 1 percent this year.