IT Trends | Research

Worldwide IT Outlook Improves for 2013

The outlook for IT services, software, and devices is looking up. According to a new forecast, worldwide IT spending across all sectors will grow by $249 billion in 2013, reaching $3.74 trillion--up 4.2 percent from 2012.

That forecast has been revised upward from a previous forecast of 3.8 percent growth, according to market research firm Gartner, which issued its latest Quarterly IT Spending Forecast today. The firm reported that while uncertainty among consumers and businesses has continued to retard growth, those uncertainties are heading toward resolution.

"Uncertainties surrounding prospects for an upturn in global economic growth are the major retardants to IT growth," said Richard Gordon, managing vice president at Gartner, in a statement released to coincide with the report. "This uncertainty has caused the pessimistic business and consumer sentiment throughout the world. However, much of this uncertainty is nearing resolution, and as it does, we look for accelerated spending growth in 2013 compared to 2012."

The strongest growth categories for 2013 will be devices (which covers everything from printers to tablets) and enterprise software, which are both projected to grow more than 6 percent this year--though the projection for devices has actually been revised downward from Gartner's previous 2013 forecast, attributing that revision to a shift among consumers toward lower-cost devices.

2012-2014 Worldwide IT Spending Forecast
  2012 Spending 2012 Growth 2013 Spending 2013 Growth 2014 Spending 2014 Growth
Data Center Systems $141 billion 2.3% $147 billion 4.5% $154 billion 4.2%
Devices $627 billion 2.9% $666 billion 6.3% $694 billion 4.2%
Enterprise Software $278 billion 3.3% $296 billion 6.4% $316 billion 6.8%
IT Services $881 billion 1.8% $927 billion 5.2% $974 billion 5.1%
Telecom Services $1,661 billion -0.1% $1,701 billion 2.4% $1,742 billion 2.4%
Overall $3,588 billion 1.2% $3,737 billion 4.2% $3,881 billion 3.8%
Source: Gartner Quarterly IT Spending Forecast, January 2013.

"The tablet market has seen greater price competition from android devices as well as smaller, low-priced devices in emerging markets," Gordon said. "It is ultimately this shift toward relatively lower-priced tablets that lowers our average selling prices forecast for 2012 through 2016, which in turn is responsible for slowing device spending growth in general, and PC and tablet spending growth in particular."

By 2014, the only category that will experience growth above 6 percent will be enterprise software, driven by "security, storage management and customer relationship management," among others, according to Gartner, "however, beginning in 2014, markets aligned to big data and other information management initiatives, such as enterprise content management, data integration tools, and data quality tools will begin to see increased levels of investment."

Also by 2014, growth in the IT services category will begin to outpace growth in devices.

Additional details can be found in Gartner's Quarterly IT Spending Forecast. Gartner will also hold a webinar Jan. 8 at 1 p.m. Eastern called "Gartner Worldwide IT Spending Forecast, 4Q12 Update--2013 The Year Ahead." The webinar will be free to attend. A screencast detailing the findings is also available online.

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