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Global IT spending to reach $4.2T in 2021, Gartner says

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Gartner today predicted worldwide IT spending will reach $4.2 trillion in 2021, an increase of 8.6% over last year. The research firm says technology spending is entering a “new build budget phase” and accelerating ahead of revenue expectations.

In its projections, Gartner also breaks the spending into more specific categories. The deeper results indicate organizations are more willing to invest in technologies that have a clear tie to business outcomes, such as communications and IT services.

IT spending by category 

Communications services ($1,444,980 million) and IT services ($1,176,676 million) saw the most spending by far in 2021, and Gartner predicts the trend will persist in 2022. The boost in IT services is primarily due to an increase in infrastructure-as-a-service spending that supports mission critical workloads and avoids high on-premises costs, according to Gartner.

Other categories listed include devices ($793,973 million spent in 2021), enterprise software ($598,957 million), and datacenter systems ($191,648 million). Gartner predicts spending will increase overall in 2022, though the amount will vary widely by category. The firm is only predicting 0.8% spending growth for devices, but a significant boost of 11.7% for enterprise software.

With the pandemic a significant factor, 2021 marks a significant jump in spending. Overall IT spending growth in 2020 was only 0.9%, compared with the 8.6% increase this year. And for 2022, Gartner is predicting a 5.3% total increase.

“Digital transformation can no longer be purchased overnight, and global IT spending projections reflect that,” John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner, said in a news release. “As the world continues to open back up, enterprises will invest in tools that support innovation, anywhere operations, and employee productivity and trust.”

Tech investments across the enterprise 

It’s not just IT spending. The pandemic accelerated digital transformation, and Gartner reported in May that CEOs are betting big on IT to drive strong economic growth over the next two years.

A recent report from the International Data Corporation (IDC) also revealed that global cloud spending boomed in the first quarter of 2021, surpassing non-cloud spend. What’s more, enterprises are digging into their pockets for IoT dollars. In an Omdia survey, the percentage of respondents who said their organization’s IoT investment would exceed $1 million increased from 21% in 2020 to 38% this year.

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