IT Trends | Research

IT Spending To Reach $3.7 Trillion in 2012

Spending on IT software, equipment, and services is projected to reach $3.75 trillion worldwide this year, driven by solid growth in computer hardware and enterprise software. While that represents roughly 2.5 percent growth over 2011's spending figures, according to market research firm Gartner, the forecast is a bit lower than previously predicted--owing mainly to currency fluctuation.

Gartner's previous forecast called for 3.7 percent growth this year, which would have brought spending to $3.79 trillion. According to Gartner, the downward revision has more to do with a slightly stronger American dollar relative to foreign currencies than a decline in spending activity. Growth in constant dollars, according to the firm, would have been 5.2 percent this year--better than originally predicted--if it were not for the currency fluctuation.

But, while overall spending will be up, the growth will be slower than what was seen last year (6.6 percent growth in overall IT spending from 2010 to 2011).

"Despite ongoing concerns about the global economic recovery--most notably around the resolution of eurozone sovereign-debt problems, worries about the potential for China's real estate 'bubble' to spillover and affect the rest of the economy and rising oil prices--early signs in 2012 suggest that the global economic outlook has brightened a little," said Richard Gordon, research vice president at Gartner, in a statement released to coincide with the report.

Other limiting factors contributing to the forecast include expected contractions in government spending owing to austerity measures in the eurozone, which will hit this year and next, and a flattening of government spending in the United States this year and anticipated cuts in 2013. In terms of growth factors, the continued health of the mobile device market will help fuel telecom spending, while growth in spending among SMBs will be driven by investments enterprise software, according to Gartner.

By category:

  • Spending on computer hardware is expected to grow 4.3 percent this year to reach $421 billion. Growth last year was 7.7 percent.
  • Enterprise software will grow 5 percent to $280 billion. Growth in 2011 was 9.2 percent.
  • IT services will see modest growth of 1.3 percent to $472 billion. Growth in 2011 was 6.5 percent.
  • Growth in telecommunications equipment will remain relatively stable at 6.9 percent this year compared with 7.2 percent in 2011. Total telecom equipment expenditures in 2012 are expected to reach $472 billion.
  • Growth in the largest IT category, telecom services, will grow just 1 percent this year (compared with 6.3 percent growth in 2011) to $1.72 trillion.

Gartner will hold a webinar April 17 to elaborate on the forecast for 2012 and to look ahead to IT spending through 2016. Registration details can be found on Gartner's site.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .