IT spend in Europe is set to rise by nearly 7 percent over the next 12 months, according to a survey of technology decision makers. The latest RoperNOP Technology Confidence Barometer, which is conducted in association with silicon.com in Europe, found that European IT chiefs expect to spend 6.8 percent more on IT than they did in 2002. In the US, spending is forecast to rise by just under 6 percent. However, it's not all good news. Since the last RoperNOP Technology Confidence Barometer was compiled in July 2002, US decision makers have become slightly less confident about the future, with the average growth forecast declining by 1.8 percent. European IT bosses are more optimistic though, especially in France and the UK. Richard Jameson, managing director of RoperNOP Technology, said: "The findings may come as a surprise to some, with many other similar surveys predicting 2 to 3 percent growth. But they tend to be dominated by large companies and the manufacturing industry. Our 7 percent figure is boosted by the above-average spending planned by smaller businesses, and in terms of vertical markets the retail and public sectors are predicting fairly major rises in expenditure." The growth in investment will be seen in several key product areas. Web-based applications, storage, high-speed data transmission and VPNs are the top priorities for IT directors over the coming months. Security is also tipped for major investment, with nearly two thirds of respondents to the survey saying they will spend more on this technology in 2003 than they did last year. This is the second RoperNOP Technology Confidence Barometer. The fieldwork was conducted in November and December 2002 in partnership with silicon.com in Europe and Cahners and CMP in the US. Over 1,100 interviews were conducted, making this one of the most comprehensive surveys of its kind.