BERLIN, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- The digital sector in Germany, including IT, telecommunications and consumer electronics (ITC) is set to grow 1.5 percent and increase revenues to 168.5 billion euros (194.2 billion U.S. dollars) in 2019, according to a forecast by the digital association Bitkom published on Thursday.
By the end of the year, Bitkom expects that Germany's digital industry will employ over 1.17 million people, creating 40,000 additional jobs, an increase of 3.5 percent compared to 2018.
"Digitalization is driving the market and guaranteeing more jobs," said Bitkom President Achim Berg. "The businesses of software houses and IT service providers are doing particularly well. By far the most jobs are created in these areas."
Information technology (IT) is expanding its importance as the largest submarket in the industry. According to the Bitkom forecast, IT revenues will increase by 2.5 percent to 92.2 billion euros during 2019.
The strongest growth is expected in the software segment, with an increase of 6.3 percent to 26 billion euros. Also growing above average is the market for IT services such as project business and IT consulting.
Last year, the ITC market exceeded the growth forecast. Revenue rose by 2.0 percent to 166 billion euros in 2018. At the beginning of last year, Bitkom had only assumed a growth rate of 1.7 percent.
"In all industries, digitalization is not a nice-to-have, but an absolute must-do. The demand for IT consultants and software applications is correspondingly high in order to further develop products, value-added networks and corporate culture and align them to the digital age," comments Berg.
The hardware business, however, will face weaker business in 2019. According to the Bitkom forecast, sales of classic desktop computers (-8.4 percent), servers (-7.0 percent) and multifunction printers (- 3.8 percent) will decline significantly.
The German market for consumer electronics will continue its downward trend for the second year in a row. The smallest ITC submarket is expected to shrink by 5.0 percent to 9 billion euros in 2019, according to Bitkom.
"Although average prices of equipment are rising in many categories, for example for televisions, this cannot compensate for the drop in sales," Berg explains.
German companies are struggling to find IT experts. According to a recent Bitkom study, 82,000 jobs for IT experts were vacant at the end of last year. In 2017, the number of vacancies was only 55,000 and increased by 49 percent within only one year. A Bitkom spokesperson told Xinhua on Thursday that "we would not be surprised if that trend continues".
In order to improve the supply of skilled IT workers, Bitkom President Berg is calling for "offensive for more digital competence. We must finally lead our schools into the digital age, inspire young people for the professions of the future, create incentives for digital further education and facilitate the immigration of foreign IT specialists."