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Global IT Spending Set to Grow 3 Percent in 2012

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IT spending is slowing in 2012, according to a new report from Gartner. Yet there is room for optimism, as the outlook for 2013 is looking more positive with cloud services leading the way forward.

For 2012, Gartner is now forecasting worldwide IT spending to come in at $3.6 trillion. That’s only a 3 percent gain over 2011, when $3.5 trillion was spent. In 2011, IT spending grew at 7.9 percent. While the 3 percent growth rate for 2012 is less than half of 2011 growth rate, Gartner’s figure is actually a revised number. Earlier in the year, Gartner had predicted a growth rate for 2012 of only 2.5 percent. Looking out to 2013 Gartner is forecasting slightly better growth of 4.4 percent.

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“While the challenges facing global economic growth persist — the eurozone crisis, weaker U.S. recovery, a slowdown in China — the outlook has at least stabilized,” said Richard Gordon, research vice president at Gartner, in a statement. “There has been little change in either business confidence or consumer sentiment in the past quarter, so the short-term outlook is for continued caution in IT spending.”

The largest chunk of the global IT spend is Telecom Services, accounting for $1.7 Trillion. Telecom is also the slowest growing segment coming in at only a 1.4 percent growth rate for 2012, down from the 6.0 percent growth rate for 2011. Telecom equipment is also a large component of the global IT spending forecast, with $377 billion forecast for 2012, for a 10.8 percent growth rate. Gartner is forecasting a slower growth rate of 8.3 percent for telecom equipment in 2013.

IT Services comes in second at $864 billion set to be spent in 2012 for a 2.3 percent growth rate, down from a 7.7 percent growth rate in 2011. While IT Services overall are not growing at a rapid rate, spending on public cloud services is another story. Gartner is forecasting that $109 billion will be spent in 2012 on public cloud services, up from $91 billion in 2011. Looking out four more years to 2016 and Gartner is forecasting a cloud spend of $207 billion.

According to Gordon, Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) accounts for the bulk of cloud spending today. That said, he notes that platform as a service (PaaS), software as a service (SaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) are growing faster.

Computing Hardware is forecast to account for $420 billion in 2012 spending for a 3.4 percent growth rate, down from 7.4 percent in 2011.

Rounding out Gartner’s global IT spending list is Enterprise Software, which will generate $281 billion in 2012 spending,  up 4.3 percent from the $269 billion that was spent in 2011.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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