Stamford, Conn. (Dec. 4, 2003) -- After two years of declines, information technology buying by small and midsized businesses should rise in 2004, according to technology industry researchers Gartner Group.

"There is unrealized potential in the SMB market and it's all up for grabs," said Gartner research director Robert Anderson. He cited Gartner research that found SMBs' budgets for IT products and services in 2004 are 7.6 greater than their budgets a year ago and follow year-to-year IT budget declines of .2 percent in 2003 and 7 percent in 2002.

Gartner research finds that total SMB IT spending, estimated at $141 billion in 2002, will grow to $275 billion by 2006. The SMB market in the United States includes 8.3 million small businesses, 23 million home offices and 110,000 midsized organizations, according to the Stamford, Conn.-based firm.

Gartner's projected SMB spending surge is still less than half of the 15.9 percent increase SMBs had in 1999 over 1998 to prepare for compliance with the year 2000 issue. Anderson, Gartner's Alpharetta, Ga.-based SMB research director, said that SMBs in 2004 will be much more demanding in their IT decision making.

-- John M. Covaleski

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