The value of the IT market was nearly £9 billion in 2006, according to the IT Barometer released today, a 5% increase year-on-year.

The survey, released by market researcher, GfK also highlights the increasing popularity of social media, like, for fuelling huge growth in consumer sales of peripherals such as PC speakers and webcams.

The key driver behind the growth is the tremendous demand for mobile PCs, which accounts for more than 30% of the value of total IT equipment and software purchases, it said.

It added: “Consumers are updating their personal multimedia infrastructure in 2006, highlighted by significant growth within such areas as multimedia cards, PC-speakers and webcams. This also mirrors the adoption of services like Skype, Youtube.Com and personal music management and accounts for an increasing in multimedia communication also the need for additional disk-capacity.”

For example, the value of the PC speaker market rose 73% year-on-year and storage devices were up 31%.
However, IT market segments that declined in 2006 were monitors (down 19% in value year-on-year), printers (down 21%) and multidisk drives (down 32%). “The display segment is generally linked with the downtrend of the desktop market, and as a result we see a loss in value here for monitors. Nevertheless, even in this weak environment there are niche segments with sustainable growth such as wide-screen monitors, and digital photo frames,” it said.

Anthony Norman, GfK business group director said the PC market is expecting the launch of Windows Vista to have a strong impact on the total IT market in 2007, not in the least due to higher hardware requirements for running it.

“In particular, memory vendors and storage manufacturers are looking positively toward the launch as Vista promises better performance while creating demand for more memory, additional storage and wider screens,” said Norman.