Global IT spending to reach $3.8 trillion in 2021, Gartner predicts

After a tumultuous 2020, the research agency is predicting that global spending on IT could be in a for a solid recovery in 2021.
Written by Natalie Gagliordi, Contributor on

After a tumultuous 2020, global IT spending could be in a for a solid recovery in 2021, according to Gartner. The research agency is predicting that global spending on IT -- which includes data centers, enterprise software, devices, and both IT and communication services -- will rise from roughly $3.6 trillion in 2020 to $3.8 trillion in 2021. 

Due to volatility in the IT market during the coronavirus pandemic, Gartner previously called for a decline across all major IT segments over the course of 2020, with device purchases and data center systems suffering the heaviest blow. However, the pandemic did create demand for technologies such as remote conferencing tools and public cloud offerings. 

Next year, Gartner expects enterprise software to experience the strongest rebound, with spending rising 7.2%. Spending on data center systems will see the second highest of growth of 5.2% in 2021, as hyperscalers accelerate global data center build outs. 

Data center guides: 

Spending on data center systems has declined more than 10% so far in 2020, as lockdowns from COVID-19 prevented around 60% of new facilities construction. Nonetheless, Gartner expects the data center market to grow year-over-year through 2024.


Despite the increase in cloud activity in 2020, Gartner research VP John-David Lovelock noted that the spending slowdown from roughly April through August, coupled with cloud vendors offering free trial periods, will see cloud revenue for vendors pushed into 2021. The budget disruption has also shifted CIO priorities away from hardware refreshes toward a focus on software. 

"Companies have more IT to do and less money to do it, so they are pulling money out of the areas they can afford, such as mobile phone and printer refreshes, which is why there will be less growth in the devices and communications services segments," said Lovelock. "Instead, CIOs are spending more in areas that will accelerate their digital business, such as IaaS or customer relationship management software." 


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