Vendors benefited from strong demand for software as a service (SaaS), which represented nearly 40 percent of CRM total software revenue in 2012, as organizations of all sizes sought easier-to-deploy alternatives to replace legacy systems, as net-new applications or to provide alternative complementary functionality.
The top five CRM vendors accounted for nearly 50 percent of CRM software revenue in 2012. Salesforce.com replaced SAP as the largest vendor in the CRM market as its direct sales pushed its CRM revenue to more than $2.5 billion. Second-place SAP's growth was less than one percent in USD terms, largely because currency headwinds were stronger in 2012 and the euro was weak. While SAP was not the worldwide leader in CRM for 2012, it was still the largest vendor in terms of revenue in Western and Eastern Europe.
North America and Western Europe remained the largest regions for CRM, accounting for more than 80 percent of total software revenue, but all regions saw growth. Western Europe's growth was less than one percent, due in part to the strong dollar, which made overall comparisons with prior years difficult. Overall spending in the IT market in Western Europe has been muted because of economic reasons. Areas of growth continued to be in Eastern Europe, Eurasia, and the Middle East and Africa, which saw IT spending for the modernization of countries' infrastructure (utilities, telecommunications, banking and government).
In 2012, vendors continued to expand their offerings with new features and functionality, often through acquisition. The wave of consolidation activity that began flowing through the market in 2009 continued throughout 2012, with more than 50 acquisitions, resulting in increased competition at the top end of the market, with the real start of the global sales forces kicking in some sales. Marketing has been the focus for investment in the past couple of years, growing at more than four times the software industry forecast norm in 2012. Marketing was also the target area for acquisitions by IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and others as analytics, lead quality and multichannel support for social and mobile technologies continue to lead the list of requirements by line-of-business buyers.
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