For the first time in years, small and midsized businesses are cutting back on IT spending, though owners remain optimistic about growth in the months ahead, a recent survey shows.

Forty-nine percent of 772 business owners and managers in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. surveyed by CompTIA, an IT advocacy group based in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., said they expect IT spending to decline or remain flat, up 11 percent from a similar survey last year. The rest said they're planning to continue investing in IT, regardless of the economic downturn.

Despite the anticipated spending cuts, 54 percent of respondents said they're expecting revenue to grow by 10 percent or more in the coming year, the survey found.

"In the past, tech spending might have been one of the first line items slashed in a tough economy," CompTIA CEO Todd Thibodeaux said in a statement. "Today, businesses are savvier because they rely on technology for an increasing amount of their core business operations."

The survey, which was conducted in September, included businesses from a variety of industries.