Gartner Forecasts Worldwide IT Spending to Reach $4 Trillion in 2021

Gartner Forecasts Worldwide IT Spending to Reach $4 Trillion in 2021

Funding for New Digital Business Initiatives to Come From Outside of IT
STAMFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $4.1 trillion in 2021, an increase of 8.4% from 2020, according to the latest forecast by Gartner, Inc. The source of funds for new digital business initiatives will more frequently come from business departments outside IT and charged as a cost of revenue or cost of goods sold (COGS).

“IT no longer just supports corporate operations as it traditionally has, but is fully participating in business value delivery,” said John-David Lovelock, distinguished research vice president at Gartner. “Not only does this shift IT from a back-office role to the front of business, but it also changes the source of funding from an overhead expense that is maintained, monitored and sometimes cut, to the thing that drives revenue.”

All IT spending segments are forecast to have positive growth through 2022 (see Table 1). The highest growth will come from devices (14%) and enterprise software (10.8%) as organizations shift their focus to providing a more comfortable, innovative and productive environment for their workforce.

Table 1. Worldwide IT Spending Forecast (Millions of U.S. Dollars)

 

2020
Spending

2020
Growth
(%)

2021
Spending

2021
Growth
(%)

2022
Spending

2022
Growth
(%)

Data Center Systems

219,940

2.3

236,806

7.7

247,513

4.5

Enterprise Software

466,647

-2.1

516,872

10.8

571,725

10.6

Devices

663,223

-6.9

755,798

14.0

778,949

3.1

IT Services

1,021,187

-1.8

1,112,626

9.0

1,193,461

7.3

Communications Services

1,386,471

-0.7

1,450,444

4.6

1,504,743

3.7

Overall IT

3,757,468

-2.2

4,072,547

8.4

4,296,391

5.5

Source: Gartner (April 2021)

As one example, the increased focus on the employee experience and well-being are propelling technology investments forward in areas such as social software and collaboration platforms and human capital management (HCM) software.

Although optimization and cost savings efforts won’t disappear simply because there’s more economic certainty in 2021, the focus for CIOs through the remainder of the year will be completing the digital business plans that are aimed at enhancing, extending and transforming the company’s value proposition.

“Last year, IT spending took the form of a ‘knee jerk’ reaction to enable a remote workforce in a matter of weeks. As hybrid work takes hold, CIOs will focus on spending that enables innovation, not just task completion,” said Mr. Lovelock.

Return to pre-pandemic spending levels varies

Recovery across countries, vertical industries and IT segments still varies significantly, prompting a K-shape economic recovery. From an industry perspective, banking and securities and insurance spending will closely resemble pre-pandemic levels as early as 2021, while retail and transportation won’t see the same recovery until closer to 2023.

Regionally, Latin America is expected to recover in 2024, while Greater China has already surpassed 2019 IT spending levels. North America and Western Europe are both expected to recover in late 2021.

More detailed analysis on the outlook for global IT spending is available in the Gartner webinar “IT Spending Forecast, 1Q21 Update: How the Winners are Winning.” Learn more about emerging trends, expected challenges and next steps for CIOs and IT leaders in the free Gartner E-Book “Top Priorities for IT: Leadership Vision for 2021.”

Gartner’s IT spending forecast methodology relies heavily on rigorous analysis of sales by thousands of vendors across the entire range of IT products and services. Gartner uses primary research techniques, complemented by secondary research sources, to build a comprehensive database of market size data on which to base its forecast.

The Gartner quarterly IT spending forecast delivers a unique perspective on IT spending across the hardware, software, IT services and telecommunications segments. These reports help Gartner clients understand market opportunities and challenges. The most recent IT spending forecast research is available to Gartner clients in “Gartner Market Databook, 1Q21 Update.” This quarterly IT spending forecast page includes links to the latest IT spending reports, webinars, blog posts and press releases.

About the Gartner Information Technology Practice

The Gartner IT practice provides CIOs and IT leaders with the insights and tools to drive the organization through digital transformation to lead business growth. Additional information is available at https://www.gartner.com/en/information-technology. Follow news and updates from the Gartner IT practice on Twitter and LinkedIn using #GartnerIT.

About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world’s leading research and advisory company and a member of the S&P 500. We equip business leaders with indispensable insights, advice and tools to achieve their mission-critical priorities and build the successful organizations of tomorrow.

Our unmatched combination of expert-led, practitioner-sourced and data-driven research steers clients toward the right decisions on the issues that matter most. We are a trusted advisor and an objective resource for more than 14,000 organizations in more than 100 countries — across all major functions, in every industry and organization size.

To learn more about how we help decision makers fuel the future of business, visit gartner.com.
Contacts
Katie Costello
Gartner
+ 1 571 444 1091
[email protected]

Meghan Rimol
Gartner
+1 571 303 4009
[email protected]

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