More than three quarters of European customer relationship management (CRM) users are planning to enhance their investments this year despite the recession, says analyst Gartner.
These projects will focus on improving customer retention and increasing wallet share, said the analyst.
Gartner surveyed nearly 90 European business and IT leaders who influenced the CRM strategy in their organisation.
"The responses indicated that some budgets for CRM initiatives were negatively impacted, but earlier budget allocations for CRM initiatives largely remained in place," said Gartner analyst Chris Pang.
"It was clear that many projects such as implementation of direct marketing tools, customer analytics, and customer service and support capabilities are too strategically or tactically important to be suddenly abandoned."
Gartner estimates that CRM spending in 2009 will not decline as dramatically as it did after 2000 - the last slump - but that growth will be more moderate than in previous years.
It forecasts that the European CRM software market will reach $3.5bn in 2009, an increase of 4% from 2008.
The survey respondents also reported that their primary objectives for their CRM programmes were first, to enhance cross-selling or upselling of products and services, second, to increase customer satisfaction, and third, to increase sales revenue.
"These objectives take on added importance in a downturn because the cost and effort needed to sell to existing customers is often less than that for acquiring new ones," said Pang.
Gartner analysts will provide additional analysis during the Gartner Customer Relationship Management Summit 2009, 3-4 March, at the Royal Lancaster hotel in London.