Global IT Spending to Accelerate in 2013, Say Forrester and Gartner

Companies are ramping up their investments in IT technology, while the amount spent on PCs continues to drop, according to separate reports released this week by Gartner and Forrester Research. 

Gartner predicts worldwide IT spending will reach $3.7 trillion in 2013, a 4.2 percent increase from last year. Forrester expects the global technology market to grow by 5.4 percent this year and by 6.7 percent in 2014.

Among businesses, big data, analytics, mobility, and cloud solutions will continue to drive tech buying, according to Forrester. Business intelligence and analytics apps will still be the "hot products, along with smart process apps for collaborative business processes," notes Forrester analyst Andrew Bartels.

Bartels described 2013 as a transition year in which Europe remains weak before starting to recover in 2014, while China's economy and other emerging markets also pick up steam. "Against that economic backdrop, we think that the global tech market will do a bit better in 2013 than it did in 2012, and will do even better in 2014," Bartels wrote in a blog post.

Gartner also attributes the spending increase to increasing optimism about global economic growth. "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."

Gartner estimates worldwide spending on devices such as PCs, tablets, mobile phones, and printers will hit $666 billion in 2013, up 6.3 percent from 2012. Despite this rise, Gordon noted this forecast is a "significant reduction" compared to Gartner's previous 2013 outlook predictions of $706 billion in worldwide devices and 7.9 percent growth. He noted that the company's long-term forecast for worldwide spending on devices has been reduced as well, with "growth from 2012 through 2016 now expected to average 4.5 percent annually (down from 6.4 percent) and 5.1 percent annually (down from 7.4 percent)." 

The lowered estimates are the result of price competitions from cheaper Android-powered tablets and a decrease in PC sales that is only partially offset by "marginal increases" in expected growth in spending on mobile phones and printers. 

"The tablet market has seen greater price competition from Android devices as well as smaller, low-priced devices in emerging markets," Gordon noted 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." 

For computer equipment, Microsoft will continue to lose sales to Apple tablets and Mac computers. The introduction of Windows 8 PCs and tablets will help Microsoft, Bartels added, but will not bring "much growth" until 2014. 

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