Worldwide IT spending to surge to $3.9 trillion in 2021

Investment in remote working, education, and business transformation are tipped as reasons for recovery.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Global IT spending is expected to reach $3.9 trillion this year due to COVID-19 acting as a catalyst for rapid business transformation. 

On Monday, Gartner released new estimates on worldwide IT spending, predicting that the sector will grow by 6.2% over the course of 2021, balancing out a decline of 3.2% last year due to the pandemic. 

According to the research agency, the enterprise focused on shoring up existing business operations last year and were forced to invest only in "mission-critical" operations to survive, rather than expand or invest in new technologies. 

However, CIOs now have the opportunity to start to think beyond the demands of sudden remote working requirements and social distancing measures, and could now begin to expand their IT setups in favor of growth and recovery. 

Gartner predicts that every IT sector will return to growth during 2021. The continual need for remote work setups is expected to create a "strong rebound" in enterprise software -- at a growth rate of 8.8% -- while devices will surge by 8% due to demand for remote workers and students now learning outside of the traditional classroom.


Previously, the agency estimated that global spending would reach $3.8 trillion in 2021. Despite the potential for optimism, the research agency warns that the global pre-covid spending levels of 2019 will likely not return until 2021, "although many countries may recover earlier."

The shift to remote and hybrid working models is predicted to persist, with worldwide IT spending related to this sector expected to total $332.9 billion this year, an increase of 4.9% from 2020. 

"COVID-19 has shifted many industries' techquilibrium," commented John-David Lovelock, research VP at Gartner. "Greater levels of digitalization of internal processes, supply chain, customer and partner interactions, and service delivery is coming in 2021, enabling IT to transition from supporting the business to being the business. The biggest change this year will be how IT is financed, not necessarily how much IT is financed."

Last year, Gartner outlined trends in technology the research agency believed would dominate 2021. Internet of Behaviors (IoB) -- such as facial recognition and behavioral event analysis technologies -- customer, employee and user experiences, privacy-enhancing computing, cloud distribution, and "anywhere" business operations are top contenders, with collaboration and automaton key tech factors. 

In addition, the company cites cybersecurity improvements, intelligent business solutions, and AI engineering as key buzzwords for this year. 

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