Worldwide IT spending is forecast to total $3.6 trillion in 2011, a 5.1 percent increase from 2010, according to the latest outlook by Gartner, Inc. In 2010, worldwide IT spending totaled $3.4 trillion, up 5.4 percent from 2009 levels.
Gartner has raised its outlook for 2011 global IT spending from its previous forecast of 3.5 percent growth. In 2010, the IT industry performed better than Gartner's previous forecast of 3.2 percent growth. Gartner analysts said currency exchange rate fluctuations have continued to affect the U.S. dollar-denominated forecast. Of the 2.2 percentage point increase in IT spending growth in 2010, 1.6 percent is attributable to the recent devaluation of the U.S. dollar against other currencies.
"Aided by favorable U.S. dollar exchange rates, global IT spending growth is expected to exceed 5 percent in 2010, but a similar level of growth in 2011 — while forecast — is far from certain, given continued macroeconomic uncertainty," said Richard Gordon, research vice president at Gartner. "While the global economic situation is improving, the recovery is slow and hampered by a sluggish growth outlook in the important mature economies of the U.S. and Western Europe. There are also growing concerns about the ability of key emerging economies to sustain relatively high growth rates. Nevertheless, as well as a fundamental enabler of cost reduction and cost optimization, investment in IT is seen increasingly as an important element in business growth strategies. As the global economy repairs itself in coming years, we are optimistic about continued healthy spending on IT."
The telecom equipment market is poised for the strongest growth in 2011, with worldwide telecom equipment spending forecast to grow 9.1 percent (see Table 1). Strong sales of mobile devices in the third quarter of 2010, driven by smartphones in mature markets and white box devices in emerging markets, as well as stronger local currencies, resulted in an upward revision of Gartner's forecast.
The computing hardware segment is forecast to grow 7.5 percent in 2011, but Gartner analysts said vendors face possible challenges, particularly in the area of PC growth, given likely weak economic growth through the first half of 2011.