According to Gartner, worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.7 trillion in 2018, an increase of 4.3 percent from 2017 estimated spending of $3.5 trillion.

Enterprise software and IT services continue to exhibit strong growth, with communications services continuing to drive the majority of spending. Software spending is projected to grow 8.5 percent in 2017, and it will grow another 9.4 percent in 2018 to total $387 billion (see Table 1). IT services spending is on pace to grow 4 percent in 2017 to reach $931 billion, and increase 5.3 percent in 2018 to reach $980 billion.

The devices segment is expected to exhibit growth for the first time in two years with an increase of 5.3 percent in 2017 and 5 percent in 2018. Increased average selling prices for premium phones in mature markets, partially due to the introduction of the iPhone 8 and 10, along with an underlying demand for PCs from businesses replacing their machines with Windows 10 PCs is driving the growth in this segment.

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

  2017 Spending 2017 Growth (%) 2018 Spending 2018 Growth (%)
Data Center Systems 173 1.7 176 1.8
Enterprise Software 354 8.5 387 9.4
Devices 664 5.3 697 5.0
IT Services 931 4.0 980 5.3
Communications Services 1,387 0.9 1,417 2.2
Overall IT 3,508 3.3 3,658 4.3

Source: Gartner (October 2017)

Gartner analysts discussed the emerging trends that are driving digital transformation this week during Gartner Symposium/ITxpo. While all IT spending segments are expected to experience growth in 2017, Gartner has identified 10 markets within these segments that will make up the most dynamic portion of the IT spending forecast in 2018.

“Looking at market opportunity — how profitable a market is, how big it is and how fast is it growing today and for the next five years — we have identified the top markets that companies should be looking to be part of in 2018,” said John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner. “Global IT spending is showing little overall growth, as are traditional markets. These top 10 markets will be the key to remaining relevant and achieving growth in the future.”

These 10 markets — including three cloud segments (infrastructure as a service [IaaS], integrated platform as a service [iPaas] and communications platform as a service [cPaaS]) — range from technologies that enhance the digital workplace, such as workstream collaboration, workforce analytics and video message-oriented middleware (MOM), to security (endpoint detection and response), analytics (smart data discovery) and storage (in-memory data grids). All are tied to enabling and enhancing an enterprise’s digital transformation efforts.

“The IT buying landscape is changing: Digital business transformation is an effort to create connected, platforms and new industry revenue streams,” said Mr. Lovelock. “Organizations that are not creating new digital business models or new ways to engage constituents or customers, are falling behind. Those vendors that do not move more quickly than their clients, will be left behind.”
More detailed analysis on the outlook for the IT industry is available in the complimentary webinar “IT Spending 3Q17 Update: Top 10 IT Markets Strategic Planners Must Track in 2018,” at 11 a.m. ET today, October 3, 2017, and on demand. During the webinar, Gartner analysts will discuss the full IT spending forecast and details on the top 10 IT markets strategic planners must track in 2018.

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 at Gartner Worldwide Spending Forecast.