When you look at the IT shopping lists of most companies, CRM technology is consistently at the top. In fact, CRM spending will outpace spending in other infrastructure technology categories such as content management and supply chain management, according to a recent report from Jupiter Media Metrix. U.S. businesses, 26 percent of those surveyed, are expected to spend $500,000 or more on CRM technology over the next two years. According to survey responses, spending levels on CRM are forecast to rise from $9.7 billion in 2001 to $16.5 billion in 2006. Investments in analytical CRM packages such as marketing applications are expected to swell from $5.2 billion in 2001 to $8.7 billion in 2006. This segment will ultimately account for 53 percent of the CRM market. Spending on CRM technology for operational contact centers, which currently accounts for 54 percent of CRM spending levels, should remain constant for the next five years, then slow in 2006 as that segment of the market matures.Among industry sectors, Jupiter expects financial services companies to buy up the most CRM technology, and spending forecasts to grow from $3.1 billion in 2001 to $5.4 billion in 2006. Other market segments investing heavily in CRM include retail and telecommunications. Retail CRM spending could reach $3.2 billion in 2006, up from $1.7 billion in 2001. Telecommunications companies could spend as much as $2.9 billion in 2006, up from $1.9 billion in 2001.The growth in CRM investments is following the need for technology to back up electronic customer contact. The same report indicates that online customer service contacts will grow from 870 million in 2001 to 4.7 billion in 2006.