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Global IT spending set for major rise next year

IT spending
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Natee Meepian)

After a significant slump during the pandemic, the global IT market is expected to record a healthy rebound in 2021, the latest figures suggest.

According to analyst house Gartner, worldwide IT spending is expected to total $3.6 trillion this year, down 5.4% on 2019 due to pandemic-related spending freezes. 

However, the firm expects the market to bounce back quickly in 2021, almost to pre-pandemic levels. IT spending is expected to reach $3.8 trillion next year (a rise of 4%), highlighting the industry’s ability to weather periods of significant turbulence.

“In the 25 years that Gartner has been forecasting IT spending, never has there been a market with this much volatility,” said John-David Lovelock, Distinguished Research VP at Gartner.

“While there have been unique stressors imposed on all industries as the pandemic unfolds, the organizations that were already more digital going into the crisis are doing better and will continue to thrive into 2021,” he added.

IT spending rebound

This year, spending across all IT segments plummeted, with Devices and IT Services registering the most precipitous falls (of 13.4% and 4.6% respectively).

The success of cloud services during the pandemic - as businesses made the transition to remote-first models - is well documented, but will not be represented in the figures this year, says Gartner.

“The spending slowdown that took place from roughly April through August of this year, coupled cloud services providers’ ‘try before you buy’ programmes, is shifting cloud revenue out of 2020,” explained Lovelock.

The obvious economic trauma aside, the pandemic has served as an undeniable proof point for technologies such as cloud, which have become a crutch for businesses in recent months.

In the post-pandemic environment, digital transformation proposals will no longer be subject to the same level of scrutiny where ROI is concerned, says Gartner, with IT spend becoming a necessity rather than a luxury.