Retailers rise in Fed eyes

A new market report suggests that retailers such as Best Buy and Staples are becoming more recognized as information technology providers for agencies, that agencies may be less preoccupied with homeland security concerns than is commonly assumed, and that Web sites are the most important sources of information for agency officials.

The 2005 Federal IT Marketing Report, released May 16 by research firm Market Connections, also shows that Dell continues to dominate other computer makers for brand awareness, while CDW Government holds the same prestige among resellers.

That reseller list ranks companies according to "unaided awareness," meaning how many survey respondents thought of those names without prompting. CDW-G led with 46 percent, and GTSI ran a distant second at 26 percent. The next four spots are held by retailers CompUSA (19 percent), Best Buy (11 percent), Office Depot (8 percent) and Staples (6 percent.)

Agency officials are more comfortable buying from such companies, particularly using government purchase cards, than they used to be, said Lisa Dezzutti, Market Connections' president and chief executive officer.

Only 32 percent of agencies report having technology initiatives that relate to homeland security. Among civilian agencies, the number is 35 percent, but defense agencies came in at 23 percent.

However, more than half of agencies (54 percent) reported that their budgets have increased because of homeland security needs.

The survey was conducted by telephone, and 600 federal officials responded.

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