Research firm Gartner says global IT spending is on track to reach $3.6 trillion in 2012, a rise by 3 percent on 2011's spending of $3.5 trillion.
Gartner said compared to a 7.9 percent increase in growth, it shows a "lackluster growth outlook for overall IT spending."
Cloud computing is on the rise, however, the firm says. It will reach $109 billion in 2012 and could come close to doubling by 2016 to $209 billion.
However, what isn't noted is how consumers spend and use cloud services, from web email to Dropbox-like services. With thin clients and tablets with little storage space, cloud spending is likely to have rocketed.
The $1.7 trillion telecom services market --- the largest portion of IT spending --- will see a 1.4 percent growth in 2012 on last year's 6 percent growth, pegging this year's spending figure at $1.7 trillion. The market is expected to rise again in 2013, but the golden growth years may be over for the foreseeable future.
Richard Gordon, research vice president at Gartner, blames challenges to global economic growth, a weaker U.S. recovery, a slowdown in China, and the ongoing euro zone crisis. "Outlook has at least stabalized," he said.
"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."
Gordon notes that business process as a service (BPaaS) still accounts for the "vast majority of cloud spending by enterprises" --- such as online payment systems and e-commerce --- but software as a service (SaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) are seeing greater growth.
Meanwhile, IT services --- including consultancy fees and analytics relating to big data --- are expected to remain high due to the complex environments that need to be navigated.