Business Monitor International estimated the size of the Lebanese information technology (IT) sector at $336.7m in 2012, constituting an increase of 6.8% from $315.4m in 2011. It projected the size of the Lebanese IT sector to $363.8m in 2013, down from a previous forecast of $392m, due to the impact of the domestic and regional economic and political uncertainties on the industry. But it expected
Lebanon's IT market to benefit from new investments in telecommunications infrastructure, which would significantly enhance the country's inadequate broadband facilities, as well as from initiatives to develop a digital southern Mediterranean region. It forecast the market to grow at a compound annual rate (CAGR) of 12% during the 2013-17 period and to reach $571m in 2017.
BMI projected the size of Lebanese computer hardware market at $225.6m in 2013, which would account for 62% of the aggregate domestic IT market, followed by the IT services market at $92.8m (25.5%), and the legal software market at $45.5m (12.5%). It anticipated that the legal software market would grow by 10.4% in 2013, the IT services segment would expand by 9.2% and the computer hardware market would increase by 7.2% during the year. It noted that it revised downward its growth projections for the three markets due to the ongoing economic slowdown in the country. It forecast the legal software market to grow at a CAGR of 13.6% between 2013 and 2017, the IT services market to post a CAGR of 13.1%, and for the domestic computer hardware market to expand at a of CAGR of 11.1% during the covered period. Further, it estimated overall personal computer sales in Lebanon, including notebooks and accessories, at $186.8m in 2013, which would constitute an 8.2% rise from $186.8m in 2012 and would account for 82.8% of the country's computer hardware market. It said that the sale of personal computers in Lebanon would grow at a CAGR of 11.1% between 2013 and 2017.
BMI indicted that the expansion of the Lebanese computer hardware market in the coming years is contingent on positive economic growth, broadband infrastructure development and government programs. It noted that the Lebanese market has strong unrealized growth potential, with personal computer penetration estimated at around 15% only. Further, it expected software piracy to continue to negatively impact the development of the domestic software market despite the implementation of some public and private projects to limit piracy in Lebanon. It added that the dominance of locally-assembled personal computers in the Lebanese computer market constitutes a major barrier to reducing software piracy. But it noted that the government is trying to address copyright protection issues in order to improve Lebanon's chances of accessing the World Trade Organization. Also, it said that spending on IT services will continue to expand as government agencies, telecoms companies, banks and other customers spend on modernization.
BMI identified the strengths of the sector as an IT literate and linguistically-skilled workforce, the largest Levant market that is well positioned to become a regional hub, and a market far from saturated with potential for fast growth. It considered the sector's weaknesses to include a lack of overall government plan for the ICT sector, high telecommunications costs, and the lack of high speed Internet connections. It identified a number of challenges such as improving ICT infrastructure, overcoming the digital divide, investing in IT skills, and launching e-government. It noted that the high cost of telecommunications constitutes the key barrier to the development of Lebanon's IT market. However, it pointed out that the sector presents significant opportunities, mainly due to telecoms and banking sectors' growing demand for IT products and services, as well as to the upgrade of IT products in large companies and government departments.
Lebanon This Week – Byblos Bank