Europe is spending more money on software than hardware, according to International Data Corporation (IDC).

Hardware accounted for 42 per cent of all US IT spending last year, IDC said, while in Western Europe hardware spending has fallen to 38 per cent, and in the UK to under 32 per cent.

Despite this, Apple increased its sales in Europe during the third financial quarter of 2000, according to the company’s latest financial report.

Hardware is now only a small element of IT solutions in Europe, which mostly consist of software and services, Stephen Minton, of IDC, said.

IDC also noted that individual European countries are world leaders in several areas. Sweden, for example, has overtaken the US in percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) spent on technology, while Switzerland, Denmark, and Norway have the largest IT spending per capita in the world.

Worldwide IT spending is expected to reach $975.5 billion this year, according to IDC.