Record-breaking growth in computer hardware sales in 2020
Despite negative assumptions, the value of the IT market in Poland in 2020 proved resilient to the COVID-19 pandemic and the crisis caused by it. PMR estimates that last year IT spending in Poland grew by 6% to PLN 49.2bn. The market boom was driven by record sales of computer hardware due to remote work and learning. The services and software segments were also on the upward trend.
IT market resilient to crisis COVID-19
The value of the IT market in Poland in 2020 was PLN 49.2bn, which means an increase by 6% year on year. It turns out that the COVID-19 pandemic did not shake the market situation, despite earlier predictions. It is true that the fall in GDP and somewhat reduced budgets of companies, households and the education sector had a negative impact on the value of the market, but it was mostly their adaptation to the situation created by the pandemic – remote working and learning and accelerated digital transformation in the case of the B2B segment. As a result, business and consumer spending on IT grew. The positive market environment in the B2B segment was also aided by the successive anti-crisis shields, which calmed the mood among companies.
At the same time, in 2020, the IT market was influenced by negative factors – lower GDP, lower growth rate of the number of enterprises in Poland, lower scale of foreign investments on the Polish market due to the uncertain situation and business risks. In 2020, many companies refrained from investment decisions, waiting for a more stable situation on the market.
Record equipment sales
The IT hardware segment had the greatest impact on the market value last year (an increase of 23% year on year, not including sales of smartphones). The situation in Poland stands out against the background of global trends, where declines in the corresponding market are visible. Working and learning remotely resulted primarily in a record increase in sales of PCs on the Polish market, mainly laptops. Although computer prices increased slightly year on year (customer concentration on lower price shelves), the market value was built by strong sales volume. Demand for various types of computer accessories, including webcams, headphones with microphone or home networking devices, also increased in 2020. The hardware market also saw a boom in the printing devices segment and even tablets, which had already become a clear market niche some time ago and their sales recorded strong declines. In addition, the coronavirus pandemic proved to be a catalyst for increased sales of monitors.
Sales peak in the smartphone market
The only major hardware category that saw a decline in volume as well as value in 2020 – a very pronounced one – is the smartphone segment.
Last year, sales of smartphones in Poland plummeted for the first time in its history. PMR estimates the dynamics of the decline at around -10%. The key factors contributing to this were limited mobile POS activity during the pandemic and lockdown, and Poles focusing their IT spending on computer hardware and postponing major spending on smartphones. Also significant was consumers turning to smartphones from cheaper brands like Xiaomi.
Growth trends also in the IT services and software market
In 2020, the IT services and software market in Poland also recorded increase in value. Although optimisation of spending by companies during the pandemic resulted in the freezing of larger contracts and the suspension of new projects for the provision of IT services or supply of software, the pandemic factor, on the other hand, in a way forced companies to invest in selected areas in order to adjust to the new situation. In the case of the services market, the category of outsourcing and integration services was of great importance. On the software market, on the other hand, one should pay attention to the greater importance of operating systems and office applications (the effect of high computer sales volumes), cyber security solutions and cloud solutions. The value of the software market is also built by household spending on games and educational programmes.
IT market forecasts for 2021-2026
Between 2021 and 2026, PMR forecasts further positive growth trends in the IT market in Poland. The forecast CAGR in this period is 4.8%. In the six-year horizon, IT spending will grow in all market segments. However, due to the strong saturation of the hardware market in 2020-2021, the focus of IT investments will be shifted primarily to the software market in the B2B segment, but also to the services market. IT spending will be supported by the second wave of digital business transformation initiated by the COVID-19 crisis.
In its forecasting model, PMR takes into account the positive impact of EU funds on the IT spending market in Poland. Under the EU Reconstruction Fund for 2021-2027, digitisation is one of the funding priorities. Poland will receive a total of nearly €23bn from the Reconstruction Fund for all priority areas, 20% of which will be earmarked for digital transformation. Converted into PLN, this is about PLN 20bn.
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ICT Business Unit Director