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'Uncertainty,' 'Pessimism' Mean More Slow Growth in IT Spending

By Craig Galbraith
January 03, 2013 - News

Look for worldwide information-technology (IT) spending to rise only by 4.2 percent in 2013.

That's part of the latest analysis from researchers at Gartner, who revised their forecast from the end of the third quarter of 2012, when they predicted IT spending would rise just 3.8 percent this year. In all, global IT spending will total $3.7 trillion in 2013, just slightly up from $3.6 trillion in 2012, Gartner said in its just-released Worldwide IT Spending Forecast.

Much of this spending increase will result from projected gains in the value of foreign currencies against the dollar. When measured in constant dollars, 2013 spending growth is forecast to be 3.9 percent.

"Uncertainties surrounding prospects for an upturn in global economic growth are the major retardants to IT growth," said Richard Gordon, managing vice president at Gartner. "This uncertainty has caused the pessimistic business and consumer sentiment throughout the world; however, much of this uncertainty is nearing resolution, and as it does, we look for accelerated spending growth in 2013 compared to 2012."

Worldwide IT Spending Forecast (Billions of U.S. Dollars)

Gartner says worldwide devices spending – which includes PCs, tablets, mobile phones and printers – will reach $666 billion in 2013, up 6.3 percent from 2012; however, this is a lower outlook for 2013 compared with Gartner's previous forecast of $706 billion in worldwide devices and 7.9 percent growth. The long-term forecast for worldwide spending on devices has been reduced as well, with growth from 2012 through 2016 now expected to average 4.5 percent per year. These reductions reflect a sharp reduction in the forecast growth in spending on PCs and tablets that is only partially offset by marginal increases in forecast growth in spending on mobile phones and printers.

"The tablet market has seen greater price competition from Android devices as well as smaller, low-priced devices in emerging markets," Gordon said. "It is ultimately this shift toward relatively lower-priced tablets that lowers our average selling prices forecast for 2012 through 2016, which in turn is responsible for slowing device spending growth in general, and PC and tablet spending growth in particular."

The report goes on to say that worldwide enterprise software spending will total $296 billion in 2013, a 6.4 percent increase from 2012. It will be driven by key markets such as security, storage management and customer relationship management; however, beginning in 2014, markets aligned to big data and other information management initiatives, such as enterprise content management, data integration tools, and data quality tools will begin to see increased levels of investment.

The global telecom services market continues to be the largest IT spending market. Gartner analysts predict that growth will be predominately flat over the next several years as revenue from mobile data services compensates for the declines in total spending for both the fixed and mobile voice services markets. By 2016, Gartner forecasts that mobile data will represent 33 percent of the total telecom services market, up from 22 percent in 2012.

Follow editor Craig Galbraith on Twitter @Craig_Galbraith .

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