Hardware replacement sales will be the first to grow as the IT recovery arrives, according to market research firm IDC.
Stephen Minton, programme director at IDC, said that long-overdue hardware investments would be the first to benefit and that resellers are in a good position because of their understanding of customer needs.
"In the fourth quarter of this year the vendors in some sectors will start to feel the recovery beginning, and with economic recovery some investments that have been put on hold will be the first made," he said.
The replacement of hardware infrastructure products such as servers and PCs, which have had their lives expanded, will be a necessity, according to Minton.
"Resellers should look at their customers over the next six months to see what needs to be replaced. Resellers are in a good position to do this," he explained.
Richard Ashmore, managing director at reseller Deverill, indicated that he had already begun to see a growth in sales.
"We are seeing an increase in sales across the board, but people are only investing in technology that can genuinely benefit the business and not just renewals," he said.
IT providers should be preparing themselves to take advantage when the upturn arrives, according to IDC. The recovery will come as a result of the reversal of the economic conditions that caused the slowdown, said Minton.
"The economy is improving but we use the word gradual because that is how it will be. 2003 will be better than 2002 and we think growth will reach the levels of pre-slowdown in 2004," he said.
The company said the gradual recovery will begin in the second half of this year.
John Gantz, chief executive at IDC, said in a statement: "As we enter the first months of economic recovery, gradually translating into business profitability and increased IT spending, we need to spot the leading short-term opportunities which will give us a head start on our competitors."
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