Gartner: Global IT spending will grow slightly in 2014

Enterprise software spending will drive the growth in spending, while telecom spending is a drag

Global spending on IT and telecom products and services will grow 3.1 percent between 2013 and 2014, compared to just 0.4 percent a year earlier, with enterprise software spending driving much of the growth, according to Gartner projections.

Worldwide spending for IT and telecom will total $3.8 trillion, with enterprise software spending driving the growth, Gartner said Monday. Enterprise software spending will total $320 billion, growing 6.8 percent in 2014, the research firm said.

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In January 2013, Gartner predicted IT spending growth of 4.2 percent for the year, but growth ended up at 0.4 percent.

Businesses will spend money on analytics to make processes geared toward consumers more efficient and improve marketing, said Richard Gordon, Gartner's managing vice president. Enterprise spending in supply chain management will grow by 10.6 percent in 2014, he said in a press release.

Device spending will rise 4.3 percent to $697 billion, and IT services spending will increase 4.5 percent to $963 billion, Gartner predicted. Gartner had projected a 6.3 percent growth in device spending for 2013, but now says there was a decrease of 1.2 percent.

Telecom services will grow just 1.2 percent during the year, to $1.7 trillion, Gartner predicted. While telecom services will see the lowest growth of five categories measured by Gartner, it will still improve compared to 2013, when it dropped 0.5 percent, Gartner said. A year ago, the firm had predicted growth of 2.4 percent in that category.

Gartner's numbers differ from projections released by competitor Forrester Research, which released its IT spending predictions last week. The more optimistic Forrester expects global spending on technology to rise 6.2 percent to $2.2 trillion in 2014, but those numbers don't include telecom services, as Gartner does.

IT spending grew only 1.6 percent in U.S. dollars during 2013, Forrester said. IT spending will grow even faster in 2015, with a 8.1 percent growth rate, Forrester predicted.

Since last quarter, Gartner has lowered its IT spending forecast for 2014 from a 3.6 percent increase to 3.1 percent. Much of that decrease is due to a downward revision in telecom spending, with a growth in mobile-only households, declining voice rates in China and a more frugal usage pattern among European customers contributing to a lower growth rate in telecom services, Gartner said.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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