Spending on storage is the only area of IT hardware that will avoid a drop-off in 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis.

A newly revised forecast from IDC suggests worldwide investment in information technology will slow significantly next year.

It will grow 2.6 per cent year over year in 2009, down from IDC’s pre-crisis forecast of 5.9 per cent growth.

In the United States, IT spending growth is expected to be 0.9 per cent in 2009, much lower than the 4.2 per cent growth forecast in August.

On a sector basis, software and services will enjoy solid growth while hardware spending, with the exception of storage, is expected to decline in 2009.

On a regional basis, spending growth in Japan, Western Europe, and the United States will hover around 1 per cent in 2009.

In contrast, the emerging economies of Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America will continue to experience healthy growth, but at levels notably lower than the double-digit gains previously forecast.

John Gantz, chief research officer at IDC, said although all the economic forecasts went from up slightly to down drastically in a matter of days, the good news was that IT was in a better position to resist the downward pull of a slowing economy.

"Technology is already deeply embedded in many mission-critical operations and remains critical to achieving further efficiency and productivity gains," he said. "As a result, IDC expects worldwide IT spending will continue to grow in 2009, albeit at a slower pace."

Looking beyond 2009, IDC expects IT spending to make a full recovery by the end of the forecast period with growth rates approaching 6.0 per cent in 2012.

Despite these gains, IDC estimates that more than USD $300 billion in industry revenues will have been lost due to slower spending over the next four years.

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