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Gartner: Worldwide IT outlay to hit $4T in 2021

News Analysis
Apr 07, 20212 mins
Collaboration SoftwareData CenterSmall and Medium Business

Gartner forecasts the biggest growth in IT spending this year will be on laptops, mobile phones and enterprise software.

Researchers at Gartner said that all IT spending segments—from data center to enterprise software—are forecast to have positive growth through 2022 with overall IT spending projected to hit $4.1 trillion in 2021, an increase of 8.4% from 2020.

Gartner forecasts the highest growth will come from devices such as laptops, desktops, tablets, and mobile phones (up 14%) and enterprise software (up 10.8%) as organizations shift their focus to providing a more comfortable, innovative and productive environment for their workforce, said John-David Lovelock, distinguished research vice president at Gartner.

The growth in spending on devices is linked to the permanent effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on usage patterns by employees and consumers, said Ranjit Atwal, senior research director at Gartner. “With remote work turning into hybrid work, home education changing into digital education, and interactive gaming moving to the cloud, both the types and number of devices people need, have and use will continue to rise,” he said.

Globally, the devices-installed base is on pace to reach 6.4 billion units in 2022, up 3.2% from 2021. While the shift to remote work exacerbated the decline of desktop PCs, it boosted the use of tablets and laptops. In 2021, the number of laptops and tablets in use will increase 8.8% and 11.7%, respectively, while the number of desk-based PCs is forecast to decline from 522 million in 2020 to 470 million in 2022. 

As for enterprise software, digital business represents the dominant technology trend in late 2020 and early 2021, led by cloud computing, core business applications, security, and customer experience. Optimization initiatives, such as hyperautomation will also grow, Gartner stated earlier this year.

In January, Gartner said enterprises are industrializing remote work for employees as quarantine measures keep employees at home, and budget stabilization lets CIOs reinvest in assets they were concerned about in 2020.

Increased focus on the employee experience and well-being are propelling investments in areas such as social and human-capital-management software, and collaboration platforms, Lovelock stated.

Although optimization and cost-saving efforts won’t disappear simply because there’s more economic certainty in 2021, the focus for CIOs through the remainder of the year will be completing digital-business plans aimed at enhancing, extending and transforming companies’ value propositions, Lovelock stated.

“Last year, IT spending took the form of a knee-jerk reaction to enable a remote workforce in a matter of weeks. As hybrid work takes hold, CIOs will focus on spending that enables innovation, not just task completion,” Lovelock said.