Report: 2013 IT Spending Forecast Rises To 4.2 Percent

Worldwide IT spending will increase 4.2 percent in 2013 to $3.7 trillion, according to a new forecast from Gartner, an uptick from the research firm's last 2013 forecast of 3.8 percent.

Much of the higher forecast is related to projected gains of foreign currencies against the U.S. dollar, according to Gartner. In constant dollars, the firm expects worldwide IT spending to increase 3.9 percent.

"Uncertainties surrounding prospects for an upturn in global economic growth are the major retardants to IT growth," said Richard Gordon, managing vice president at Gartner, in a statement. "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."

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The rate compares to Gartner's estimated IT spending growth of 1.2 percent for 2012.

Joe Balsarotti, president of Software To Go, a St. Peters, Mo.-based solution provider, believes Gartner's expected growth rate seems a bit high for what he sees ahead.

"I think this year is a carbon copy of last year. I don't see anybody making an [IT] decision beyond the ones that they have to make, which is exactly what happened last year," Balsarotti said. "Nobody that I know, client wise, is planning anything in the way of expansion. Not even in their wildest dreams. There are some who are moving offices to take advantage of lower lease rates, and they'll spend money to put in new infrastructure, but overall it's to make the [cost] smaller. That's the business I see."

Gartner reduced its long-term spending forecast on devices to an average of 4.5 percent annually from 2012 through 2016 in current U.S. dollars, down from 6.4 percent. The firm expects a "sharp reduction" in PC and tablet sales that will only be partially offset by growth in mobile phones and printers.

Gartner also expects worldwide spending for PCs, tablets, mobile phones and printers to increase 6.3 percent in 2013 to $666 billion, less than Gartner's previous forecast of $706 billion and 7.9 percent growth.

"The tablet market has seen greater price competition from android devices as well as smaller, low-priced devices in emerging markets," 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 expects data center systems spending to increase 4.5 percent in 2013 to $147 billion, enterprise software to increase 6.4 percent to $296 billion, IT services to increase 5.2 percent to $927 billion and telecom services to increase 2.4 percent to $1.70 trillion.

Within enterprise software, spending growth will be driven by security, storage management and CRM solutions in 2013, while big data solutions including enterprise content management, data integration tools and data quality tools will begin to see increased levels of investment in 2014, according to Gartner.