Some of the biggest names in distribution have warned that the recovery will be slow and growth in IT spending might not return until next year or even 2011.
Sharing their views of what lies ahead at the Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC) meeting in London the bosses of Ingram Micro, Avnet and Esprinet called on the need to be realistic about the timetable for the recovery.
"The end of this year could be a bit better than we would expect at the moment. But we don't see any major or minor sign of improvement," said Alessandro Cattani, CEO of Esprinet.
There have been some economists pointing to the slight improvements in the US economy as an indication that things globally might be on the mend but Greg Spierkel, CEO at Ingram Micro was downbeat about the prospects of a speedy recovery.
"Europe is getting worse with every passing month and it is lagging behind North America," he said.
"Everyone is trying to be realistic but unemployment figures keep going up and spending is being pulled back," he continued, adding: "Flat is clearly the new up".
"We are nowhere near in the V shape as in the other cycles but we don't know if it's an L," he said.
One of the optimists in distribution has been Roy Vallee, chairman and CEO of Avnet, and he said that it was possible to have negative year-on-year growth and GDP and still have signs of things improving "but we are a quarter or two away from any form of year-on-year growth".
He said he still remained optimistic about things getting better but any recovery was going to be gradual.