Credit may be hard to come by in world financial markets at the moment, but in the IT industry it’s a different matter

Certain technology products have long been procured on a finance or lease basis – take photocopiers for example. When it comes to more complex software, services and solutions it’s been up to companies to arrange their own funding. However, this is changing.

At this year’s Retail Solutions, technology finance firm Capital Solutions Group undertook research among retailers and technology vendors to assess their attitudes to financing.

It spoke to 108 retailers, including several of the UK’s biggest high street and supermarket names and found that there is a mismatch between how retailers and suppliers would like IT acquisitions financed and how they are actually financing them.

More than 50 per cent of retailers said they would consider an operating lease and 70 per cent of vendors said that they wanted to be able to offer their products on this basis. However, only 38 per cent of retailers do so and only 32 per cent of vendors felt they were able to offer products effectively this way.

At this point in steps CSG, and companies like it, to provide funding for what are often intangible assets.

This shift is backed by the general direction of the IT market, as witnessed by technology analyst firm IDC. It has estimated that the worldwide IT leasing and financing market was worth at least US$70 billion (£34.77 billion) in 2006. By 2010, IDC expects this to have grown to US$100 billion (£49.67 billion).

This growth will also mask changes in what leasing and financing are being used for.

Equipment leasing accounted for about 70 per cent of the worldwide leasing and financing last year. IDC forecasts that this will drop by about 20 percentage points by 2010, while software and services financing will grow to make up approximately 50 per cent of the worldwide market.

So by the end of the decade, not only might your photocopiers be leased, but your self-checkouts, mobile computing solutions and even the systems running your warehouse too.