Scottish digital tech firms see 'positive' year ahead

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Most of Scotland's digital technology firms are optimistic about their prospects this year following strong sales in 2017, a survey has found.

Researchers said 80% of respondents expected a "positive" 2018, with nearly a third forecasting sales to increase by more than 50%.

Eight out of 10 firms surveyed by trade body ScotlandIS also expected to hire more staff in the next 12 months.

More than 200 firms took part in the Scottish Technology Industry Survey.

Nearly 70% of businesses recorded improved sales during 2017, compared with the previous year.

Increased profit margins were reported by 47% of respondents, only 1% less than in 2016.

International markets remained a key focus for Scotland's digital companies, with 64% of businesses already exporting and a further 17% planning to do so.

'Industry is thriving'

The research also highlighted a number of challenges facing the industry, including staff recruitment and retention and the impact of Brexit.

The most in-demand skills were in software and web development and commercial and business support, with about three-quarters of respondents identifying a need for these.

ScotlandIS chief executive Polly Purvis said: "This year's survey shows that Scotland's digital technology industry is thriving, with many of our businesses enjoying success at home as well as experiencing increasing overseas demand.

"The overwhelming majority of respondents are optimistic about the year ahead and are forecasting business growth.

"This is good news not just for our industry but the country as a whole as more jobs are created and investment increases across the sector."

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