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Research from analyst IDC predicts that IT spending in the Western European SMB sector will have exceeded £90bn by the end of last year.

IDC says growth rates will vary across different size segments and verticals, depending on the impact of IT spending drivers/inhibitors such as macroeconomic results, IT replacement/upgrade cycles, diverse pricing models, and the availability of new IT products.

However, the main findings are that businesses with 1 to ¬499 employees will represent 53% of total IT spending, increasing to 54% in the forecast period 2004 to 2009, as demand for IT increases among companies with fewer than 500 employees.

IT spending in small companies will increase at slower than average growth (3.4%) in 2005, due to these companies' cautious approach to IT. However, demand is expected to scale up to 4.2% in the next four years.

Spending at companies with 100 to 499 employees is anticipated to have grown by 4% in 2005 and will climb to 5.3% during the forecast period.

IDC believes it has identified a trend for IT suppliers to increasingly fulfil mid-market companies' needs and help the continuous shift in their attitude to IT adoption from tactical to strategic.

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