Global IT Spending to Grow 5.3 Percent in 2010: Gartner

Worldwide IT spending in 2010 will jump to $3.4 trillion, and could reach more than $3.5 trillion in 2011, according to Gartner. Helping to drive the upward trend are consumer mobile PCs, virtualization and security software, Gartner said.

IT spending worldwide should grow 5.3 percent in 2010 over last year, reaching $3.4 trillion, according to industry research firm Gartner.

In addition, spending will continue to increase into 2011, growing 4.2 percent on sales of more than $3.5 trillion, Gartner said in a report April 12.

The increase in 2010 will come in several areas, including hardware, with consumer mobile PC spending being the key driver. Enterprise hardware spending will grow, but will lag that in the consumer space, and won't reach 2008 levels until 2014.

On the software side, the winners will be vendors of such technologies as virtualization, security, data integration and data quality, and business intelligence, Gartner said.

"Following strong fourth quarter sales, an unseasonably robust hardware supply chain in the first quarter of 2010, combined with continued improvement in the global economy, sets up 2010 for solid IT spending growth," Richard Gordon, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement.

Gartner's outlook echoes the same optimism of that Forrester Research. In a blog post April 8, Forrester analyst Andrew Bartels said the recovery that began to show itself toward the end of 2009 should continue into 2010 and beyond.

"IT market indicators from Q4 2009 showed an end to declines, setting the stage for stronger growth in 2010," Bartels wrote.

He expects the U.S. IT market to grow by 8.4 percent-slightly higher than his predictions in January-though growth in the global IT space will be 7.7 percent, a bit lower than earlier projections due to the growing strength of the U.S. dollar.

"I continue to see computer equipment and software as the strongest product categories in 2010, with PCs, peripherals, and storage equipment leading the computer category and operating system software and applications setting the pace for software," Bartels said.

Gartner analysts saw similar trends, saying that computing hardware saw the steepest decline in spending during the worst of the global recession last year, and is poised to see the strongest rebound. They're predicting a 5.7 percent increasing in spending in this category, reaching $353 billion.

On the enterprise side, spending on storage will grow the fastest. As far as servers go, in the near-term, less expensive low-end servers will be the focus. However, with the spread of virtualization, consolidation and cloud computing, server spending could be curtailed in the long-term, the analysts said.

While the PC space will be driven by consumers for most of the year, Gartner expects businesses to begin migrating to Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system toward the end of 2010.

In the software market, spending is expected to grow 5.1 percent to $232 billion. Along with the rapid growth of such areas as virtualization and business intelligence, the applications market-such as productivity and packaged enterprise applications-has some of the fastest-growth segments. Growth in collaboration tools, such as conferencing over the Internet, as well as content management software are being driven by social networking and content, according to Gartner.

"Cost optimization, and the shifts in spending from mega suites to the automation of processes will continue to benefit alternative software acquisition models as organizations will look for ways to shift spending from capital expenditures to operating expenditures," Joanne Correia, managing vice president at Gartner, said in a statement. "Because of this, vendors offering software as a service (SaaS), IT asset management, virtualization capabilities and that have a good open-source strategy will continue to benefit. We also see mobile-device support or applications, as well as cloud services, driving new opportunities."