According to calculations of the European Information Technology Observatory (EITO) in November 2008, the IT market in the EU grew by 4.2 per cent in 2008. The growth of IT services (5.4 per cent) and software products (5.3 per cent) contributed substantially to this figure. Hardware trading merely increased by 1.5 per cent over the prior year. According to EITO, among the large IT markets in the EU, hardware trading increased by 2.6 to 3.0 per cent in Italy, Spain, and Great Britain. In contrast, this segment shrunk by 0.8 per cent in France. In the Swiss market, which is important for Bechtle, hardware trading also fell by 0.9 per cent.

Forecasts for IT industry revised downwards

As the year progressed, the general economic parameters in the German IT industry deteriorated increasingly. This is evident from the trend of the forecasts issued by the industry association BITKOM. While the association's growth expectations for 2008 still amounted to 4.6 per cent in spring and 4.2 per cent in autumn, in December BITKOM corrected its growth forecast to 3.7 per cent (prior year: 5.0 per cent). According to BITKOM, the IT services segment gained 5.7 per cent (prior year: 7.8 per cent), and software 4.2 per cent (prior year: 5.4 per cent). For the IT hardware segment, BITKOM anticipates stagnation (prior year: 0.7 per cent).