Worldwide IT spending up 6% in 2012, IDC forecasts

Despite a tough global economy, IT spending is on the rise, according to the market research firm. But the devil's in the details.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

Economy be damned. Right? Well, sort of.

Global spending in the information technology sector will end the year up six percent, according to forecasts by market research firm IDC, suggesting that even a tough economic climate can't stop the arms races in software, storage, networking and mobile devices.

The six percent figure is "only slightly down" on last year's growth, which came in at 7 percent. Both figures were weighed down by weakness in the PC, server, peripherals and telecom provider equipment markets.

Look a little closer, however, and the data is harder to swallow. Once you account for currency swings between the U.S. dollar and foreign currencies, IT spending only grew 4 percent this year, "a significant downturn for U.S.-based tech vendors" compared to the 10.5 percent growth seen in 2011. Measured by constant currency, the spend is up 5 percent.

Whatever your preferred economic yardstick, the bottom line is that economic uncertainy continues to be the albatross draped around the neck of the enterprise technology industry -- even as major shifts in the market (e.g. mobility, software) continue to occur. 

Still, much of that spend has been guided by cost-reduction -- not growth -- strategies, not exactly an encouraging sign four years after the global economy fell off a cliff. 


  • The launch of Windows 8 in the fourth quarter "should help to drive a meaningful recovery in the PC market next year."
  • Software growth in Northern Europe was robust, despite overall weakness in Western Europe.
  • Japan's recovery has "lost some momentum" and is expected to flat-line in 2013.
  • Emerging markets are still growing, but China is slowing in response to Europe's troubles. IT spending there is on course for 14 percent growth this year; ditto India and Brazil. Russia is expected to finish at 11 percent and South Africa, eight percent.
  • Overall worldwide IT spending is should finish the year at $2.1 trillion, excluding telecom services. Including them, it's expected to be $3.8 trillion.
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