IT Spending to Reach $3.7 Trillion in 2013: Gartner

Spending on PCs, tablets, mobile phones, printers and other devices is forecast to reach $666 billion in 2013

Enterprise software spending, mobile data and device spending are expected to drive worldwide IT spending to $3.7 trillion in 2013, a 4.2 percent increase from 2012 spending of $3.6 trillion, according to the latest Worldwide IT Spending Forecast by IT research firm Gartner.

Worldwide enterprise software spending is forecast to total $296 billion in 2013, a 6.4 percent increase from 2012, driven by key markets such as security, storage management and customer relationship management. However, the report noted that 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.

On the hardware side, spending on PCs, tablets, mobile phones, printers and other devices is forecast to reach $666 billion in 2013, up 6.3 percent from 2012, but a notable reduction in the outlook for 2013 compared with Gartner's previous forecast of $706 billion in worldwide devices and 7.9 percent growth.

Gartner analysts reduced long term device market growth prospects as well, with growth from 2012 through 2016 now expected to average 4.5 percent annually in current U.S. dollars (down from 6.4 percent) and 5.1 percent annually in constant dollars (down from 7.4 percent), due to a sharp reduction in the forecast growth in spending on PCs and tablets that will be only partially offset by marginal increases 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," Gartner managing vice president Richard Gordon said in a statement. "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."

Gartner analysts also predict that growth in the global telecom services market 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.

"Uncertainties surrounding prospects for an upturn in global economic growth are the major retardants to IT growth," Gordon continued. "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."

The report noted much of the projected spending increase overall is the result from projected gains in the value of foreign currencies versus the dollar. When measured in constant dollars, 2013 spending growth is forecast to be 3.9 percent. More detailed analysis on the outlook for the IT industry will be presented in a Jan. 8 Webinar hosted by Gartner.