PC Spending Outlook for SMBs Rises: NPD

For overall IT spending, businesses indicated a level of steady growth over the next 12 months, according to the report.

Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in the United States indicated that they intend to increase PC spending over the next year for the first time since January 2012, according to the latest SMB Technology Monitor from IT research specialist The NPD Group.

Among these companies, 30 percent said they planned to spend more on PC purchases through the end of the year compared to their spending in the prior 12 months, reflecting a significantly more optimistic view since October 2012, when only 22 percent of companies said they had plans to increase spending over the next year.

"PCs are still a core part of the technology arsenal of the typical U.S. corporate employee and a regular rotation of new and upgraded equipment is part of best practices for most midsize U.S. businesses," Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD, said in a statement. "The increase in planned spending is likely a combination of the halo effect of new form factors and the upcoming end of official Microsoft support for the Windows XP operating system."

PCs also saw a substantial rise in short-term purchase intent in January, an increase that occurred in concert with increased intent in tablet spending. However, when compared to PCs in both short- and long-term outlooks, tablets generated nearly twice as many companies intending to increase spending, the report noted.

Infrastructure product such as servers, networking and storage all reflected areas where plans to increase spending declined or stayed the same from October, although that was partially offset by an uptick in firms intending to maintain spending levels, as opposed to increasing or decreasing them.

For overall IT spending, the businesses surveyed indicated a level of steady growth over the next 12 months with no significant change in purchase intent from the most recent 12-month outlook reported in October. In the short term, spending intentions are also indicated to increase from the October report, with 20 percent of firms planning short-term increases as of the January survey compared to 16 percent in October.

"While a substantial number of midsize firms intend to raise their IT spending, it should be noted that almost 70 percent of companies are holding spending steady or decreasing their budgets," Baker continued. "We continue to see steady spending as the norm during 2013 as cloud and storage requirements, increased penetration of tablets, and the need for a corporate PC refresh force firms to maintain spending levels, even if they are not planning on raising them."