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IT purchases by small and medium businesses (SMBs) worldwide will grow by more than 4 percent a year through 2020, predicts IDC.

And assuming your website is in good working order, you may be glad to hear that more consumers plan to shop online this holiday season than in bricks-and-mortar stores, according to this recently released survey conducted by Deloitte.

SMB Spending

SMBs worldwide will spend $668 billion on IT hardware, software and services in 2020, up from an estimated $564 billion this year, according to IDC’s just-released Worldwide Semiannual Small and Medium Business Spending Guide. Assuming IDC is right, that would mean a 5-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.2 percent. For the record, IDC defines SMBs as organizations with fewer than 1,000 employees.

But growth will not be equal among IT categories. Though hardware currently represents the largest share of SMB spending, it will experience the slowest growth over the next five years, with a CAGR of just 1.1 percent, IDC predicts.

By contrast, business services purchased by SMBs will be the fastest-growing IT category, with a 5-year CAGR of 7.4 percent, IDC predicts. Software will grow nearly as fast, with a CAGR of 6.6 percent from 2015 through 2020, says IDC, making software the largest spending category by 2020. A fourth category, IT services, are predicted by IDC to have a 5-year CAGR of 3.8 percent.

With services growing so fast, you might wonder where the action will be. Outsourcing will account for more than 40 percent, IDC says, including applications management, hosted applications, infrastructure management and business-process outsourcing. The other 60 percent or so will go to project-based services and support/training services, IDC says.

Holiday Consumer Shopping

Is your website ready for the holidays? More consumers plan to shop online this holiday season than ever before, according to Deloitte’s 2016 Holiday Survey: Ringing in the Retail report.

For its survey Deloitte commissioned an independent research company to poll nearly 5,040 U.S. consumers this past September, asking them about their holiday shopping plans.

Fully 50 percent said they plan to shop for holiday gifts this year on the Internet, more than the 43 percent who said they plan to holiday shop in discount/value department stores.

For the first time, consumers said they plan to spend as much online this holiday season as they do in physical stores. That’s illustrated in the following chart, courtesy of Deloitte. The survey asked consumers what percentage of their total holiday gift budget they planned to spend online, in stores and elsewhere. As you can see, they plan to spend 47 percent online and the same 47 percent in stores:

More than half (52%) of consumers said they plan to shop on new websites they had not visited before. And two-thirds (66%) said they plan to combine online and in-person shopping, looking at items online, then going to a store to see the items and purchase them. Half (50%) also plan to “showroom,” going to a physical store to see items, then hunting online for the best price. A smaller group (43%) said they plan to buy items online that they will then pick up in physical stores, rather than have the products shipped to them.

Most consumers, including those who shop in brick-and-mortar stores, research products online before buying. Fully 86 percent said they research online for at least some items, leaving only 14 percent who said they never do product research online.

The most valuable types of reviews to those who research online? That would be customer reviews on retailer sites (cited by 66%), reviews and recommendations from people they know (56%), and customer reviews on independent sites (55%). Retailer reviews and recommendations were deemed important by only 18 percent of those who research online.

Also see:

Cloud adoption shows no sign of slowing: report

CIO agendas, BYOD, chief data officers: research roundup

Tablets: a rough roller-coaster of a market


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