Global IT spending to reach $3.7T, led by increases for software

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Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.7 trillion in 2018, an increase of 4.3 percent from the 2017 estimated spending of $3.5 trillion, with enterprise software receiving the largest increase in spending, according to the latest forecast by Gartner, Inc.

The research firm released its 2018 global IT spending forecast at last week’s Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando.

Enterprise software and IT services continue to exhibit strong growth, the research firm says, with an expected 9.4 percent increase in spending for 2018. That is nearly twice the forecast for the next largest growth area – IT services. Gartner expects spending on enterprise software to reach $387 billion next year.

IT services spending is on pace to grow 4 percent in 2017 to reach $931 billion, and increase 5.3 percent in 2018 to reach $980 billion.

The devices segment is expected to exhibit growth for the first time in two years with an increase of 5.3 percent in 2017 and 5 percent in 2018. Increased average selling prices for premium phones in mature markets, partially due to the introduction of the iPhone 8 and 10, along with an underlying demand for PCs from businesses replacing their machines with Windows 10 PCs is driving the growth in this segment, the firm says.

Showing only modest gains is the data center systems area. Gartner expects that sector to see a 1.8 percent increase in spending, up from 1.7 estimated growth in 2017. Total spending on data center systems will be $176 billion in 2018, the firm says.

Worldwide IT Spending Forecast (Billions of U.S. Dollars)

2017 Spending

2017 Growth (%)

2018 Spending

2018 Growth (%)

Data Center Systems





Enterprise Software










IT Services





Communications Services





Overall IT





Source: Gartner (October 2017)

While all IT spending segments are expected to experience growth in 2017, Gartner has identified 10 markets within these segments that will make up the most dynamic portion of the IT spending forecast in 2018.

"Looking at market opportunity — how profitable a market is, how big it is and how fast is it growing today and for the next five years — we have identified the top markets that companies should be looking to be part of in 2018," said John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner. "Global IT spending is showing little overall growth, as are traditional markets. These top 10 markets will be the key to remaining relevant and achieving growth in the future."

These 10 markets — including three cloud segments (infrastructure as a service [IaaS], integrated platform as a service [iPaas] and communications platform as a service [cPaaS]) — range from technologies that enhance the digital workplace, such as workstream collaboration, workforce analytics and video message-oriented middleware (MOM), to security (endpoint detection and response), analytics (smart data discovery) and storage (in-memory data grids). All are tied to enabling and enhancing an enterprise's digital transformation efforts.

"The IT buying landscape is changing: Digital business transformation is an effort to create connected, platforms and new industry revenue streams," Lovelock says. "Organizations that are not creating new digital business models or new ways to engage constituents or customers, are falling behind. Those vendors that do not move more quickly than their clients, will be left behind."

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