Despite whispers of a double dip recession hitting next year, the near-term IT buying outlook looks good, according to a study conducted by the IT industry association CompTIA. Six in ten IT firms surveyed said they expect revenues in the third and fourth quarters to significantly or moderately exceed revenues from the first half of the year.
The CompTIA survey panel expects the Business Confidence Index to increase 5.4 points over the next six months, although the index did slip 1.4 points from May to June of this year.
"IT industry executives remain relatively confident about the tech sector and about their firm's prospects, but concern over the health of the U.S. economy persists," Tim Herbert, vice president of research for CompTIA, said in a statement. "In some ways the results point to a 'two steps forward, one step back' mentality, where positive news and momentum are followed by unexpected bad news and a renewed sense of negativity about economic conditions."
The survey covered 306 IT firms ranging from those under $1 million in revenue to more than $500 million in revenue and focused on three areas: confidence in the overall economy; confidence in the IT industry; and confidence in the their own company. CompTIA found that IT executives were least confident in the overall U.S. economy but had greater optimism for the IT sector and their own firms. Furthermore, their confidence has been growing.
Fear of a stalled recovery fell from 58 percent in December 2009 to 46 percent in June 2010; fear of weak consumer demand fell from 56 percent to 40 percent; and fear about access to credit and capital fell from 41 percent to 26 percent.
Even though buying all but stopped in late 2008 and through much of 2009, CompTIA expects an uptick this year.
"Even though customers stopped buying, VARs stayed in front of their customers through the downturn and know what they need. A year ago, only the most essential things were being purchased. So [the VARs] have a pretty good idea of demand going forward. There is demand pent up in the system," Steven Ostrowski, a spokesman for CompTIA, told InternetNews.com.
One of the more encouraging signs in the report is that intent to increase staffing levels jumped seven points in CompTIA's latest Business Confidence Index survey, which translates to 37 percent of IT firms expecting to increase hiring over the next six months. Unemployment has been high for quite some time and has been the most stubborn of economic problems.
The top positions to fill include programmers, developers, support staff and help desk, sales staff, project managers and network engineers, according to CompTIA.
CompTIA found that 47 percent of firms say they are fully staffed but would like to add new employees in order to expand their business, while the other 53 say they are understaffed by between 5 percent and 20 percent.