Business spending on security software is increasing despite the economic downturn, according to analyst firm Gartner.
Growth of 18.6% for worldwide security software sales in 2008 to $13.5bn shows that security remains a priority for CIOs and IT security leaders, said Gartner analyst Ruggero Contu.
Data security, privacy and increasingly sophisticated and targeted cyber attacks are fueling the growth of IT security software spending, he said.
In Western Europe, the US and Canada, compliance was also a contributory factor.
Security firm Symantec continues to lead the market with a 22% share, followed by McAfee (10.9%), Trend Micro (7%), IBM (5.1%) and EMC (4%).
However, the combined top five suppliers' market share is gradually falling in favour of smaller players, who have gone from 48% of the market in 2007 to 50.9% in 2008.
"This is a sign that security remains a dynamic market where smaller players, new entrants and specialist vendors provide an effective challenge to established leaders," said Contu.
In 2009, Gartner predicts the security software market will show signs of slowdown, but will continue to grow at around 9%.
This growth will be be sustained by increasing demand from small to mid-sized businesses and new product delivery methods such as software-as-a-service, said Contu.