The UK has overtaken the US as the leading national market for new outsourcing contracts for the first time, according to research from outsourcing advisory firm TPI.
The UK was found to represent more than 37% of the market for major outsourcing contracts awarded worldwide for the first three months of 2005. The US was second (25%), followed by Asia Pacific (4%).
Europe's share of the total value of new outsourcing deals worth over £27m more than doubled in the first three months of 2005, accounting for 70% of £7.5bn worth of contracts awarded. In the same period last year, Europe's share of the outsourcing market was 34%.
"Some may argue that Europe's £1.6bn mega deal - the Reuters/ BT contract - skews the results for this first quarter, but Europe still accounted for well over half of new contracts worldwide; a high point for European outsourcing," said Duncan Aitchison, managing director international at TPI.
The rise of offshore outsourcing deals continued during the first three months of this year. Based on an analysis of outsourcing deals it advised on, TPI reported a 17% increase in the proportion of outsourcing deals involving an element of offshore servicing compared to 2004.
Meanwhile, the "big six" suppliers in the outsourcing market - Accenture, ACS, CSC, EDS, Hewlett-Packard and IBM - saw their combined market share fall by 57% in the first quarter of 2005. They won only 27% of major contracts awarded in the first quarter of this year, compared with 63% in the first quarter of 2004.