HANOVER, Germany, April 24 (Reuters) - Germany's telecommunications and IT industry association said on Monday it expects sales of software, hardware and IT solutions to rise by more than a fifth both this year and next year.
Industry association Bitkom presented forecasts at the Hanover industrial technology trade fair which forecast turnover will rise by 21 percent to 5.9 billion euros ($6.41 billion) this year and a further 22 percent to 7 billion euros in 2018.
"Digitalisation of industrial production is the growth driver par excellence," said Bitkom board member Winfrid Holz. "The figures and the full order books of industrial firms show the potential of digitalisation in the factories."
Bitkom represents companies employing a total of 1 million people, more than any other sector in Germany, bar engineering. Major employers include SAP, Deutsche Telekom and United Internet. ($1 = 0.9205 euros) (Reporting by Jan Schwartz, writing by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Paul Carrel)