2021 could be the biggest year for IT spending yet

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2021 could be the biggest year for IT spending ever recorded as businesses around the world look to bounce back from the hardships of the pandemic, new research has claimed.

The latest forecasts from analyst firm Gartner predict that worldwide IT spending will total $4.1 trillion in 2021, an increase of 8.4% from 2020 as companies look to upgrade all facets of their business.

Gartner expects spending to be up across the board, with hardware, software, services and other IT systems all set for a significant spending spree in 2021 that should also extend across 2022 as well.

Time for an upgrade

Among its predictions, Gartner expects spending on devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets to increase 14.0% in 2021 compared to the previous year as companies upgrade their employees for more flexible ways of working.

Spending on enterprise software is set to rise 10.8% compared to 2020 figures, with IT services seeing a 9.0% increase, and data center systems also seeing a 7.7% increase.

Gartner notes that much of the spending for new digital business initiatives will actually start to come from business departments outside of IT, and will be charged as a cost of revenue or cost of goods sold - further spurring on more investment in the future.

As mentioned, this impetus looks set to continue into 2022, with Gartner forecasting total global IT spending of $4.2tn, a 5.5% increase on 2021's figures, with enterprise software and IT services again enjoying the most investment.

"IT no longer just supports corporate operations as it traditionally has, but is fully participating in business value delivery,” said John-David Lovelock, distinguished research vice president at Gartner. “Not only does this shift IT from a back-office role to the front of business, but it also changes the source of funding from an overhead expense that is maintained, monitored and sometimes cut, to the thing that drives revenue.”

“Last year, IT spending took the form of a ‘knee jerk’ reaction to enable a remote workforce in a matter of weeks. As hybrid work takes hold, CIOs will focus on spending that enables innovation, not just task completion."

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Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.