Inflation Throttles Consumer Purchasing Power, But Enterprise IT Spending Remains Strong
Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $4.5 trillion in 2023, an increase of 2.4% from 2022, according to the latest forecast by Gartner, Inc. This is down from the previous quarter’s forecast of 5.1% growth. While inflation continues to erode consumer purchasing power and drive device spending down, overall enterprise IT spending is expected to remain strong.
“Consumers and enterprises are facing very different economic realities,” said John-David Lovelock, Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner. “While inflation is devastating consumer markets, contributing to layoffs at B2C companies, businesses continue to increase spending on digital business initiatives despite the world economic slowdown.
“A turbulent economy has changed the context of business decisions and can cause CIOs to become more hesitant, delay decisions or reorder priorities. We’ve seen this in action with the reshuffling taking place among some B2B companies, especially those that overinvested in growth. However, IT budgets are not driving these shifts, and IT spending remains recession-proof.”
The software and IT services segments are projected to grow 9.3% and 5.5% in 2023, respectively. The devices segment is forecast to decline 5.1% this year as both consumers and enterprises lengthen device refresh cycles (see Table 1).
Table 1. Worldwide IT Spending Forecast (Millions of US Dollars)
|2022 Spending||2022 Growth (%)||2023 Spending||2023 Growth (%)|
|Data Centre Systems||
Source: Gartner (January 2023)
“During the height of the pandemic, employees and consumers had technology refreshes of tablets, laptops and mobile phones due to remote work and education,” said Lovelock. “Without a compelling reason for an upgrade, device assets are being used longer and the market is suffering.”
Tight Labour Market Impacts IT Services Spend
Job vacancy rates have been increasing every quarter and the open jobs per unemployed rate is at record lows in many countries. High competition for talent is challenging CIOs to hire skilled IT staff, limiting growth for companies who struggle to scale without the requisite talent.
Simultaneously as software spend continues to rise, the IT services market is growing as companies look to bring in outside IT staff for implementation and support. For example, spending on consulting is expected to reach $264.9 billion in 2023, a 6.7% increase from 2022.
“CIOs are losing the competition for talent,” said Lovelock. “IT services spending is growing more quickly than internal services in every industry. Skilled IT workers are migrating away from the enterprise CIO towards technology and service providers (TSPs) who can keep up with increased wage requirements, development opportunities and career prospects.”
Gartner’s IT spending forecast methodology relies heavily on rigorous analysis of the sales by over a thousand 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, 4Q22 Update.”
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