Forthcoming 2011 Assinform Report presented in Milan SLOW RECOVERY IN IT SECTOR: 2010 – 1.4%; 2011 forecast + 1.3% But the gap with foreign markets is widening: 2010 EU IT + 1.2%, world IT + 4.9%

Press release : Assinform report 2011 preview

The latest news about the Italian market in 2010: wide spread of technologies, hardware revenues + 2.8%, middleware software + 0.6%, number of PCs sold + 15.7%, 428,000 tablets sold, smartphones doubled to 4 million, broadband accesses + 6.9%, 49% of households are broadband connected, internet service revenues + 7.4%.

Angelucci, President of Assinform, said: "For our Country to grow and for skilled employment to increase, “made in Italy” information technology must be developed to support export as well as industry and service innovation. This is the reason why we are asking that SME aggregation be supported, and we are also asking for tax credit on research and development, a decrease in the regional tax on productive activities (Irap) and full and quick enforcement of the e-Government Code, which is the keystone of innovation in Italy".

Milan, March 9, 2011 –"The upward trend of the IT market in Italy was confirmed in 2010 and is expected to continue this year. But the growth pace is too slow, considering the need for structural change in our Country and the innovation gap with foreign markets, which is widening. Technological innovation in Italy is still too limited in size and undervalued at political level and by decision-makers. This is the reason why it is not working as a strategic leverage for business growth, productivity improvement, and for public spending efficiency and rationalization, as happens in other major Countries". This alarm was launched today in Milan by Paolo Angelucci, President of Assinform, when presenting the forthcoming 2011 Assinform Report, drawn up in cooperation with NetConsulting, on ICT performance in 2010. Mr. Angelucci also said that there is a real growth opportunity in Italy, but it can only be seized if the role played by innovation is enhanced. "Our economy can improve rapidly and effectively if ICT is used to accelerate development and modernization processes, as indicated by the European Digital Agenda. Three actions should have priority: legislation, to support development and use of innovation aimed at business growth, in particular exporting businesses, focusing on tax credit for investment on research and development and on a decrease in the regional tax on productive activities to increase skilled employment in brain intensive sectors such as Information Technology. Maximum support to the e-Government Code, to which adequate resources must be allocated as it is strategic to improve government actions’ quality and efficiency; this would bring major returns in terms of public spending reduction and acceleration of business computerization and people’s digital literacy. Support to SME aggregation and innovation, since SMEs account for 90% of manufacturing activities in Italy, but they are having objective difficulties in investing in new technologies. Business networks and business cluster innovation, on which Confindustria is working, go in this direction; government should support this evolution by ensuring reliable payment rules and time frame, streamlining of procedures and simplification of regulations".

Comparison with foreign markets

Assinform President’s alarm is supported by the difficulties experienced by ICT in Italy, as worryingly confirmed by a comparison with foreign markets. In 2010 the world ICT market grew at levels recorded before the economic crisis, from – 1.5% in 2009 to + 4.9% in 2010 (IT +4.4%, Tlc + 5.1%), as compared to a 5% increase in global GDP. In Italy, an upward trend was recorded in the ICT sector, but growth is still negative: -2.5% as opposed to -4.2% in 2009, representing a market value of euro 60,230 million. This performance is mainly due to telecommunications, - 3% compared to -2.3% in 2009, while IT demand showed an improvement trend, from -8.1% in 2009 to -1.4% in 2010, recovering 6.7%, with a market value of euro 18,430 million. This figure confirms the gap between Italy and other major Countries, which recorded a positive market growth, except for Spain. The IT market went up by 2.6% in Germany, 1.5% in France and 1.3% in the UK, with a European average of + 1.2%. Outside Europe, the IT market went up by 5.1% in the USA and by 0.9% in Japan.

IT: hardware and infrastructures growth

A new element can be observed in the recovery of the IT market in Italy: an increase in demand of all hardware components, after several years of decrease: + 2.8% in 2010, up by 17.6% from -14.8% in 2009.

Demand of large servers (High End systems) went up by 18.4%, which indicates that several medium and large companies are renewing their IT technology. This reflects in the positive growth  of  infrastructure software demand: the software market as a whole ended 2010 with -0.9%, while system software went up by more than 5% compared to 2009 to close at +0.4%, and middleware software grew by 2.6% to close at + 0.6% in 2010.

The hardware market growth was driven by sales of PCs and new devices such as tablets, to both businesses and individuals. The number of Personal Computers sold went up by more than 15% compared to 2009 to close 2010 at + 15.7%. Desktop computers recorded a +10.4%, up by little less than 30%; servers increased from -20.9% in 2009 to +2.4% in 2010, and laptop computers recorded a slight downward trend after years of growth (+9.4% as opposed to +10.1% in 2009). 428,570 tablets were sold in 2010. 

Telecommunications drop

The telecommunications market dropped by 3% to a market value of euro 41.8 billion.

Telecommunications are suffering from a progressive erosion of prices and fees due to fierce competition, which has negative effects on both mobile (-3.2%) and fixed telephone services (- 2.6%). Therefore the market value trend does not reflect the increase in market penetration and use of telecommunication products and services recorded in Italy in 2010.
More than 4 million smartphones were sold in 2010, twice as much compared to 2009; broadband accesses increased by 6.9% to more than 13 million units; a 7.4% market value growth of accesses to the Internet from fixed phones was recorded.

Assinform’s trend survey

The ninth trend survey performed in February this year on a significant sample of Assinform member companies confirmed that IT companies are optimistic. Revenue improvement was recorded by 65.2% of companies, as opposed to 47.3% in November 2010. An increase in orders was reported by 61% of sample companies, as opposed to 45.4% in November 2010; a considerable budget improvement by client companies was reported by 65.7% of sample companies, against 46.4% in November 2010. Staff trends are also interesting: data relating to the number of employees are stable, while the number of consultants is slightly increasing, after the heavy drop suffered during the crisis, since their skills are necessary to implement new projects. It should be noted that micro businesses in the IT sector mainly rely on consultants.

Assinform and NetConsulting’s forecasts for 2011 show a strengthening in IT demand, with an annual growth of about +1.3%, mainly driven by hardware demand (+3.2%), accompanied by software demand (+1.6%) and information technology services demand (+0.6%).

"The upward trend of investment in technology – ended Assinform’s President – has major potentials. It paves the way for growth in demand of new applications and information technology services, which represent the real added value of “made in Italy” information technology and foster development and employment growth. In particular, for an export-driven economy such as Italy – although, according to recent forecasts issued by Banca d'Italia, export will lose dynamism and competitiveness in the next two years - technological innovation is the key to open new opportunities for Italian companies, so that they can also compete in large emerging countries".

Press office Assinform:

Stefania Follador – Milano – 3465003534 – s.follador@assinform.it
Anna Borioni – Roma – 3471409877 – a.borioni@assinform.it