According to Gartner, global IT spending is likely to total $3.9 trillion in 2021, an increase of 6.2% from 2020.
The research firm said that global IT spending declined 3.2% in 2020 as CIOs prioritized spending on technology and services that were deemed “mission-critical” during the initial stages of the pandemic.
The unprecedented speed of digital transformation in 2020 to satisfy remote working, education and new social norms presented lockdowns and social distancing measures as double-edged swords – one which has abated the pandemic’s negative effect on IT spending going into the New Year, Gartner added.
“CIOs have a balancing act to perform in 2021 — saving cash and expanding IT,” said John-David Lovelock, distinguished research vice president 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. Digital business, led by projects with a short Time to Value, will get more money and board level attention going into 2021.”
All IT spending segments are forecast to return to growth in 2021. Enterprise software is expected to have the strongest rebound (8.8%) as remote work environments are expanded and improved.
The devices segment will see the second highest growth in 2021 (8%) and is projected to reach $705.4 billion in IT spending.
Through 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 permanently higher adoption of remote work and digital touchpoints.
Gartner forecasts global IT spending related to remote work will total $332.9 billion in 2021, an increase of 4.9% from 2020.