IT Trends | Research

2012 Worldwide IT Spending To Top $3.6 Trillion

IT expenditures are on pace to exceed $3.6 trillion by the end of 2012, representing growth of 3 percent, according to a new forecast published this week.

That modest growth--modest compared with the 7.9 percent growth seen the year prior--is largely the effect of caution in IT driven by ongoing large-scale economic issues, according to Richard Gordon, research vice president at market research firm Gartner, which published the forecast, "IT Spending Forecast Summary, Q2 2012 Update."

"While the challenges facing global economic growth persist — the eurozone crisis, weaker U.S. recovery, a slowdown in China — the outlook has at least stabilized," said Richard Gordon, research vice president at Gartner. "There has been little change in either business confidence or consumer sentiment in the past quarter, so the short-term outlook is for continued caution in IT spending."

Expected Growth in 2012
For the year, growth will slow in every major category Gartner tracks. The weakest performer will be telecom services, which had grown 6 percent in 2011 but will grow just 1.4 percent in 2012, reaching $1.69 trillion worldwide. Telecom equipment, meanwhile, will see the strongest growth, 10.8 percent in 2012, reaching $377 billion. (Telecom equipment as a category had grown 17.5 percent the previous year.)

IT services will hit $864 billion worldwide in 2012, up 2.3 percent after increasing 7.7 percent in 2011. Computing hardware will grow 3.4 percent this year, hitting $420 billion after growing 7.4 percent in 2011. Enterprise software rounds out the top 5. It will reach $281 billion, an increase of 4.3 percent after rising 9.8 percent the previous year.

According to Gartner, "The global telecom services market continues to be the largest IT spending market. Telecom services growth is expected to come not only from net connections, especially in emerging markets, but also in mature markets from the uptake of multiple connected devices, such as media tablets, gaming and other consumer electronics devices."

Forecast: 2013 and Beyond
Looking ahead to 2013, telecom equipment will again see the most significant growth of the top-5 categories, climbing 8.3 percent over 2012 to reach $408 billion. Telecom services will remain the largest category by far and will see the slightest growth in 2013--up 2.3 percent to $1.73 trillion.

Of the remaining top 3:

  • Spending on enterprise software will grow 6.9 percent to $301 billion from 2012 to 2013;
  • Computing hardware will climb 6.6 percent to $448 billion; and
  • IT services will jump 4.8 percent to $905 billion.

Looking further ahead, spending on public cloud services is expected to see significant increases. The public cloud services category reached $91 billion in 2011, will climb to $109 billion this year, and will reach as high as $207 billion in 2016, according to Gartner.

The complete report, "IT Spending Forecast Summary, Q2 2012 Update," is available on Gartner's site. A free webinar will be held today at 11 a.m. Eastern to present a more detailed analysis.

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 .