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Global IT spending to grow 8.6% in 2021, says Gartner

This year’s spending growth is now 3.4% higher than expected

Global IT spending is expected to increase by 8.6%, from $3.8 trillion (£2.7 trillion) in 2020 to $4.2 trillion (£3 trillion) in 2021.

That's according to the latest forecast by Gartner, which found that IT spending is accelerating ahead of revenue expectations.

At the beginning of 2021, the global research and advisory firm predicted that global  IT spending would rise by 6.2% to a total of $3.9 trillion (£2.85 trillion) in 2021 before surpassing the $4 trillion (£2.93 trillion) mark in 2022.

However, according to new findings, 2021’s spending growth is now 3.4% higher, with the $4 trillion mark expected to be surpassed a year earlier than expected.

According to the analyst house, this is due to boards and CEOs being increasingly willing to invest in technology that has a clear tie to business outcomes. An example of such is this year’s 13.2% growth in enterprise software spending and 13.9% increase in device purchases, with the latter having suffered a 1.5% decline in 2020.

The IT services segment was found to be the third-highest growth area for 2021, forecast to increase by 9.8% from 2020 to a total of $1.2 trillion (£870 million). This was largely driven by a boost in infrastructure as a service spending with an emphasis on mission-critical workloads.

According to Gartner’s research vice president John-David Lovelock, “technology spending is entering a new build budget phase”.

CIOs are looking for partners who can think past the digital sprints of 2020 and be more intentional in their digital transformation efforts in 2021. This means building technologies and services that don’t yet exist, and further differentiating their organisation in an already crowded market.”

Earlier this year, Gartner said that, through 2024, businesses will be forced to accelerate their digital transformation plans by at least five years in order to survive in a post-COVID world, where remote work and digital touchpoints will be the norm.

On Wednesday, Lovelock said that “digital transformation can no longer be purchased overnight, and global IT spending projections reflect that".

"As the world continues to open back up, enterprises will invest in tools that support innovation, anywhere operations and employee productivity and trust,” he added.

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