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IT spending

How remote working and schooling drive IT spending

Worldwide IT spending is projected to total USD 3.9 trillion in 2021, an increase of 6.2% from 2020, according to a forecast by research and marketing firm Gartner. Worldwide IT spending declined 3.2% in 2020. Returning global recovery back to 2019 spending rates will not occur until 2022, although many countries may recover earlier.

“People-gathering industries, such as restaurants, travel and entertainment, will hover at the bottom long-term.”

All IT spending segments are forecast to return to growth in 2021. Gartner forecasts global IT spending related to remote work will total USD 332.9 billion in 2021, an increase of 4.9% from 2020.

Enterprise software is expected to have the strongest rebound (8.8%) as remote work environments are expanded and improved.

The devices segment will see the second highest growth in 2021 (8%) and is projected to reach USD 705.4 billion in IT spending.

“As countries continue remote education through this year, there will be a demand for tablets and laptops for students. Likewise, enterprises are industrializing remote work for employees as quarantine measures keep employees at home and budget stabilization allows CIOs to reinvest in assets that were sweated in 2020”, said John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner.

The forecast says that through 2024, businesses will be forced to accelerate digital business transformation plans by at least five years to survive in a post-covid world that involves permanently higher adoption of remote work and digital touchpoints.

“Digital business represents the dominant technology trend in late 2020 and early 2021 with areas such as cloud computing, core business applications, security and customer experience at the forefront. Optimization initiatives, such as hyperautomation, will continue and the focus of these projects will remain on returning cash and eliminating work from processes, not just tasks,” said Mr Lovelock.

Despite the availability of covid vaccines, the virus will continue to require government health interventions throughout 2021. Non-covid geopolitical factors such as Brexit and the US-China tension will also inhibit recovery for some regions.


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