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Gartner Says Financial Crisis Is Delaying, More Than Cancelling, Client Computing Projects


Certain Applications, Countries and Vertical Markets Provide Some Optimism for Technology and Service Providers

STAMFORD, Conn., The financial crisis has had a significant impact on the client computing industry in 2009, as witnessed in a survey by Gartner, Inc. that showed far more PC projects are postponed or scaled back this year rather than cancelled outright because of tighter IT budgets. Only 12 percent of those surveyed indicated they have outright cancelled a planned project since October 2008.

The survey was conducted from late February through early March of 2009. Respondents included 475 IT decision makers in enterprises with 1,000 or more employees (except in Australia, where companies with as few as 500 workers were contacted). Respondents were from nine countries, including Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“Enterprise belt-tightening has had a tremendous impact on the client computing technology segment with 43 percent of respondents expecting a decrease in spending on client computing hardware in 2009 compared with 2008,” said Andrew Johnson, managing vice president at Gartner.

Gartner forecasts overall IT spending to decline 3.7 percent in 2009. Spending on IT hardware, including client computing (PCs), servers, storage and printing systems will bear the brunt of budget cuts with spending expected to decline 14.9 percent. Gartner forecasts overall IT spending to rebound with 2.4 percent growth in 2010, although IT hardware spending will continue to lag next year, growing just 0.8 percent.

Despite the bleak outlook, Mr. Johnson said that there are some brighter spots for the segment with certain applications getting increased spending and some countries and industries reporting more-optimistic plans. He said that more client computing projects will be postponed or reduced in 2009 than will be eliminated, and technology and service providers should ensure that they are ready for the recovery, when and where it happens.

The survey pinpointed some important differences in how companies in different countries are maintaining, delaying, reducing or canceling many ongoing client computing projects. Although 48 percent of all respondents indicated some of their PC projects would be deployed as planned in 2009, respondents in China (85 percent) and India (64 percent) were more optimistic and expected most of their projects to be deployed as planned. In contrast, only 29 percent of U.S. and 18 percent of French companies planned to continue their client computing projects as originally planned.

Significant vertical market variations were also revealed by the survey which found that the industries most on track with their client computing plans were insurance, media and consumer business services. Companies involved with telecommunications, wholesale, and agriculture, mining and construction are most likely to be planning to reduce spending. Postponements are more likely in retail, utilities and wholesale companies, and project cancellations were above average in discrete manufacturing. Only one out of 45 respondents in the financial services industry indicated PC purchase plans were cancelled, and in this sector, reduced, postponed, and as-planned responses came in near the averages.

Additional information is available in the Gartner report “User Survey Analysis: The Impact of the Financial Crisis on Client Computing Projects, Worldwide, 2009.” The report is available on Gartner’s Web site at

Analysts will provide additional analysis in the complimentary briefing “Gartner Hardware Insight 2009: Strategies for Demystifying and Weathering the Global Economic Crisis” on May 19 at the Sofitel Redwood City, in Redwood City, California. The briefing will examine the evolving IT infrastructure portfolio with sessions examining the outlook for the PC and client computing segment, servers, printers, and storage. Those interested in attending the briefing can register at

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company. Gartner delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is the indispensable partner to 60,000 clients in 10,000 distinct organizations. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A., and has 4,000 associates, including 1,200 research analysts and consultants in 80 countries. For more information, visit


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