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Worldwide IT spending to grow 6.2% in 2021: Gartner

After a decline in the pandemic-hit 2020, worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.9 trillion in 2021, an increase of 6.2 percent from the previous year, according to the latest forecast by Gartner on Monday.

Worldwide IT spending declined 3.2 percent in 2020 as Chief information officers (CIOs) prioritized spending on technology and services that were deemed “mission-critical” during the initial stages of the pandemic.

The unprecedented speed of digital transformation in 2020 to satisfy remote working, education, and new social norms presented lockdowns and social distancing measures as double-edged swords – one which has abated the pandemic’s negative effect on IT spending going into the New Year.

“CIOs have a balancing act to perform in 2021 — saving cash and expanding IT,” John-David Lovelock, Distinguished Research Vice President at Gartner, said in a statement.

“With the economy returning to a level of certainty, companies are investing in IT in a manner consistent with their expectations for growth, not their current revenue levels. Digital business, led by projects with a short Time to Value, will get more money and board-level attention going into 2021.”

All IT spending segments are forecast to return to growth in 2021, according to Gartner.

Enterprise software is expected to have the strongest rebound – 8.8 percent as remote work environments are expanded and improved.

The devices segment will see the second-highest growth in 2021 – 8 percent and is projected to reach $705.4 billion in IT spending.

“There is a combination of factors pushing the devices market higher,” said Lovelock.

“As countries continue remote education through this year, there will be a demand for tablets and laptops for students.”

Global IT spending related to remote work will total $332.9 billion in 2021, an increase of 4.9 percent from 2020, according to the forecast by Gartner.

Overall, returning global recovery back to 2019 spending rates will not occur until 2022, although many countries may recover earlier, it said.

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