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STAMFORD, Conn., July 13, 2020

Gartner Says Worldwide IT Spending to Decline 7.3% in 2020

Despite Current Cash Flow Restrictions, ‘Swoop’ Recovery and Heightened Digital Expectations to Follow in IT Spending Outlook

Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.5 trillion in 2020, a decline of 7.3% from 2019, according to the latest forecast by Gartner, Inc. While the global economy is expected to witness a ‘swoosh’ recovery, IT spending will experience more of a ‘swoop’ recovery.

“Overall IT spending is still expected to sharply decline in 2020 but will recover in a faster and smoother manner than the economy,” said John-David Lovelock, distinguished research vice president at Gartner. “Still, enterprises cannot return to previous processes that are now rendered outdated due to the disruption of their primary revenue stream during the pandemic.

“From movie theaters to banks, COVID-19 is forcing all organizations to get creative and stay afloat without exclusively offering physical experiences. Specifically, CIOs with less immediate cash on hand should plan on becoming more digital than they had originally anticipated at the start of 2020.”

Total IT spending will reach $3.5 trillion in 2020, with all segments experiencing a decline in 2020 (see Table 1). The hardest hit segment will be devices as cost containment will continue to reduce spending significantly through 2020. Spending on devices is forecast to decline 16.1% in 2020. Working from home caused a temporary spike in device buying as businesses implemented business continuity plans for COVID-19 response, however, spending on devices is not expected to return to 2019 levels soon.

Table 1. Worldwide IT Spending Forecast (Millions of U.S. Dollars)

 

2019 Spending  

2019 Growth (%)  

2020 Spending  

2020 Growth (%)  

2021 Spending  

2021 Growth (%)  

Data Center Systems

210,053

0.6

188,365

-10.3

200,094

6.2

Enterprise Software

476,687

11.7

449,506

-5.7

482,666

7.4

Devices

711,525

-0.3

596,914

-16.1

611,303

2.4

IT Services

1,040,263

4.8

969,438

-6.8

1,023,179

5.5

Communications Services

1,372,236

-0.6

1,326,492

-3.3

1,366,419

3.0

Overall IT

3,810,764

2.3

3,530,714

-7.3

3,683,661

4.3

Source: Gartner (July 2020)

Gartner sees the pandemic response in three phases and as enterprises enter the second phase – Recover – they will have a backlog of IT projects and less cash to use for them. As a result, CIOs will gravitate toward spending on subscription products and cloud services to lower upfront costs. Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) is expected to grow 13.4% to $50.4 billion in 2020 and 27.6% to $64.3 billion in 2021. Ongoing workplace collaboration requirements will fuel sustained end user spending in cloud-based conferencing, which is projected to increase 46.7% in 2020 according to the latest forecast.

“With the easing of lockdown restrictions, many enterprises will soon return to a higher level of revenue certainty allowing some cash flow restrictions to ease and CIOs to resume spending on IT again,” said Mr. Lovelock. “This pause and restart will push growth out of 2020 and into 2021. The smooth ‘swoop’ recovery of top line IT spending masks a very turbulent recovery across some countries, industries and markets.” 

More detailed analysis on the outlook for IT spending is available in the Gartner webinar “Q2 IT Spend Forecast: Is There Growth Within a Recession?” Learn more about how to prioritize cost initiatives by business outcome with the Gartner Cost Optimization Framework.

Learn more about how to lead organizations through the disruption of coronavirus in the Gartner coronavirus resource center, a collection of complimentary Gartner research and webinars to help organizations respond, manage and prepare for the rapid spread and global impact of COVID-19.

Gartner’s IT spending forecast methodology relies heavily on rigorous analysis of sales by thousands of vendors across the entire range of IT products and services. Gartner uses primary research techniques, complemented by secondary research sources, to build a comprehensive database of market size data on which to base its forecast.

The Gartner quarterly IT spending forecast delivers a unique perspective on IT spending across the hardware, software, IT services and telecommunications segments. These reports help Gartner clients understand market opportunities and challenges. The most recent IT spending forecast research is available to Gartner clients in “Gartner Market Databook, 2Q20 Update.” This quarterly IT spending forecast page includes links to the latest IT spending reports, webinars, blog posts and press releases.

About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world’s leading research and advisory company and a member of the S&P 500. We equip business leaders with indispensable insights, advice and tools to achieve their mission-critical priorities today and build the successful organizations of tomorrow.

Our unmatched combination of expert-led, practitioner-sourced and data-driven research steers clients toward the right decisions on the issues that matter most. We are a trusted advisor and an objective resource for more than 14,000 enterprises in more than 100 countries — across all major functions, in every industry and enterprise size.

To learn more about how we help decision makers fuel the future of business, visit gartner.com.

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