Study: Global IT Spending US$2.1 Trillion in 1999

A global study of spending on hardware, software and other technology items, including wages for IT workers, shows the size of the IT industry continues to grow on a steep incline.

The study, produced by the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) in cooperation with International Data Corp. (IDC), shows that the information and communication technology industry was worth US$2.1 trillion in 1999. It is projected to become a $2.4 trillion industry in 2003 and surpass $3 trillion in 2004, according to the study titled "Digital Planet 2000: The Global Information Economy."

Researchers gathered data from government agencies and IT industry sources in more than 50 countries and regions that comprise 98 percent of worldwide spending on hardware, software and services, telecommunications hardware and services, office equipment and internal IT spending, including expenditures on IT employees, capital depreciation and the internal IT spending budgets.

The study found that the top ten countries ranked in order of IT spending in 1999 were the U.S., Japan, Germany, U.K., France, Brazil, Italy, Canada, China and Australia. The top ten countries represented 80 percent of the global IT spending in 1999.

The appearance of China and Brazil in the top ten ranking is significant, Harris Miller, president of WITSA, said in a release issued Tuesday along with the study results. The IT industry's compound annual growth rate of more than 7 percent indicates the sector continues to outpace other industries, and the potential for future growth is still extraordinary, Miller said.

The study also found that Latin America's 12.7 percent growth rate in information and communication technology spending from 1998 to 1999 was well ahead of the 7.3 percent growth rate in spending in North America and the 5.7 percent spending growth rate in western Europe for those two years. IT spending growth in the Middle East/Africa region and the Asia Pacific region excluding Japan set a blazing pace of 15.9 and 19.5 percent, respectively.

The study also found that by region, North America continues to lead the globe in overall IT spending at $817 billion in 1999; Eastern Europe spent the least at $30 billion. New Zealand led the world in IT spending as a percentage of GDP at 10.5 percent, while Switzerland spent the highest per capita, at $3,335, followed by Japan at $2,854 and the U.S. at $2,792.

A full report on the study can be ordered for US$150 ($95 for ITAA members) online at http://www.itaa.org/news/pubs/. An executive summary is available free on the Web at http://www.witsa.org.

WITSA is an international consortium of 41 information technology industry associations, including the Information Technology Association of America. Electronic Data Systems Inc., the Nasdaq Stock Market Inc., American Express Co., Merant International Ltd. and Satyam Computer Services Ltd. sponsored the study.

IDC is owned by International Data Group Inc., the parent company of IDG News Service.

ITAA, in Arlington, Virginia, can be found on the Web at http://www.itaa.org/; IDC, in Framingham, Massachusetts, can be found at http://www.idc.com/.

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