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Worldwide IT services spend to jump 6% this year says Gartner

Total global IT spending will rise 6.2% this year to $3.9 trillion, after it fell 3.2% in 2020 as CIOs prioritised spending on “mission-critical” areas during the first stages of the pandemic.

All IT spending segments are forecast to return to growth in 2021. The IT services market is expected to increase 6% to $1.01 trillion, and the communications services segment is projected to rise 4.5% to $1.4 trillion.

Enterprise software is slated to have the strongest growth at 8.8% - reaching $506 billion - as remote working environments are expanded and improved.The devices segment will see the second highest growth with an extra 8% spent, totalling $705.4 billion, helped by companies buying gadgets for staff working from home. Gartner forecasts global IT spending related to remote working will total $332.9 billion in 2021, an increase of 4.9% from 2020.

“CIOs have a balancing act to perform in 2021, in saving cash and expanding IT,” said John-David Lovelock, an analyst at Gartner. “With the economy returning to a level of certainty companies are investing in IT in a manner consistent with their expectations for growth, not their current revenue levels.

In 2022, Gartner predicts that total global IT spending will rise 4.6% to $4.1 trillion.

“Digital business, led by projects with a short time to value, will get more money and board level attention going into 2021.”

Through to 2024, businesses will be forced to “accelerate” digital business transformation plans by “at least” five years to “survive” in a post-COVID-19 world, that involves a permanently higher adoption of remote work and digital touchpoints, said Gartner.

Andy Dunbar, services director at SoftwareONE, said of the forecast: “It’s unsurprising that worldwide IT spending is set to increase, as companies can’t afford to compromise on digital after the last 12 months that we’ve all experienced.

“In our hybrid world, enabling remote work, remote learning and increased online consumer services is central, all of which require tech spend. The good news is this urgency means IT departments won’t have to convince the board to invest - most have bought into the need for digitalisation.”