Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), which have been propping up technology sales, remain cautious about spending, according to analyst IDC.
A survey by IDC of 1,236 SMEs in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and The Netherlands found that half expected IT budgets to remain flat.
Some 30 per cent, largely at the top end, expected an increase, but one in five expected budgets to fall.
Earlier this month, analysts said that the "green shoots" of revival are appearing in the corporate IT arena.
But according to Laura Calligarich, research analyst at IDC, negative economic signals are affecting SME business confidence.
"These economic signals drive IT spending and the negative signals across Europe coming from the top five economies are causing caution," she said.
Calligarich explained that cautious attitudes towards spending are heightened by a lack of understanding of the benefits of technology.
"There are many technologies that businesses do not understand the real benefits of," she said.
Tony Kingston, marketing manager at reseller Deverill, agreed that the SME sector has been propping up the industry for some time, but suggested that businesses are becoming more cautious about which suppliers they deal with.
"SMEs want to work with people that give them added security by being able to provide a wide range of products and services, like a one-stop shop," he explained.
Kingston added that it is crucial that resellers are competent in the education aspect of a deal.
"An important part of the job is to educate customers on the full benefits and total return on investment available," he said.
Despite the caution, the survey suggested that customer relationship management is an emerging trend among SMEs, despite the smaller end of the sector being less willing to adopt the software.
The take-up of security technologies is high across the whole sector, and mobility demand is set to increase in the utilities, healthcare, retail and wholesale sectors.
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