With the global economy showing signs of a gradual recovery, worldwide IT spending is on pace to total $3.8 trillion in 2014, a 3.2 percent increase from 2013 spending, according to the latest forecast by Gartner, Inc.
"Globally, businesses are shaking off their malaise and returning to spending on IT to support the growth of their business," said Richard Gordon, managing vice president at Gartner. "Consumers will be purchasing many new devices in 2014; however, there is a greater substitution toward lower cost and more basic devices than we have seen in prior years."
The Gartner Worldwide IT Spending Forecast is the leading indicator of major technology trends across the hardware, software, IT services and telecom markets. For more than a decade, global IT and business executives have been using these highly anticipated quarterly reports to recognize market opportunities and challenges, and base their critical business decisions on proven methodologies rather than guesswork.
The devices market (including PCs, ultramobiles, mobile phones and tablets) is forecast to return to growth in 2014, with worldwide spending of $689 billion, a 4.4 percent increase from 2013 (see Table 1). However, in top-line spending, a shift in the product mix continues to be seen in the marketplace. Demand for highly priced premium phones is slowing, with buyers in mature countries preferring midtier premium phones, while those in emerging countries favor low-end Android basic phones.
The number of traditional PC users is contracting to a set of fewer, albeit more engaged, users. In general, consumers are opting to buy premium ultramobiles as notebook replacements and purchasing tablets as additional devices. As market power shifts to the buyer, and key product innovations become ubiquitous, product pricing is becoming the primary differentiator.
Data center systems spending is projected to reach $143 billion in 2014, a 2.3 percent increase from 2013. In terms of enterprise network equipment trends, cloud and mobility are the biggest demand drivers. Virtualization and cloud adoption are generating significant market traction for data center Ethernet switches, and the proliferation of mobile endpoints is continuing to drive significant demand for the wireless LAN equipment market.
In the enterprise software market, spending is on pace to total $320 billion, a 6.9 percent increase from 2013. The enterprise software market is the fastest-growing segment in 2014. "The Nexus of Forces (the convergence of social, mobile, cloud and information) continues to drive growth across key major software markets, such as CRM, database management systems (DBMSs), data integration tools and data quality tools," Mr. Gordon said. "In fact, organizational adoption of data management technologies to support the Nexus will cause spending on DBMSs to surpass operating systems, making the former the largest enterprise software market in 2014."
IT services is forecast to total $964 billion in 2014, up 4.6 percent from 2013. IT services buyers are shifting spending from consulting (planning projects) to implementation (doing projects), and Gartner analysts expect steady growth in the IT services market as the economic outlook, and along with it investment sentiment, improves.
Telecom services spending is projected to grow 1.3 percent in 2014, with spending reaching $1.655 trillion. Fixed voice services continue to decline from substitution effects occurring a bit faster than previously anticipated, affecting the balance of wireless-only households in important markets, such as Japan, as well as the migration of enterprise lines due to Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking (the use of voice over IP (VoIP) to facilitate the connection of a private branch exchange (PBX) to the Internet).