Gartner lowers global IT spending forecast for 2012

Spending on tech products and services around the world is now expected to rise 3.7 percent from last year, a dip from Gartner's prior forecast of 4.6 percent growth.

The outlook for IT spending this year isn't quite as rosy as Gartner previously predicted.

Spending on IT products and services is expected to reach $3.8 trillion in 2012, a 3.7 percent rise from last year when spending totaled $3.7 trillion and had climbed by 6.9 percent from 2010.

Released today, the new forecast is a dip from Gartner's prior projection of 4.6 percent growth for this year. The market researcher now believes that all major tech sectors will witness slower gains in spending for 2012.

Spending on telecom equipment will see the greatest growth at 6.9 percent, followed by enterprise software at 6.4 percent. Spending on computer hardware will rise by 5.1 percent, forecasts Gartner. That leaves IT services with growth of 3.1 percent and telecom services with just 2.3 percent.

Gartner blamed a variety of reasons for the lower outlook.

"Faltering global economic growth, the eurozone crisis, and the impact of Thailand's floods on hard-disk drive (HDD) production have all taken their toll on the outlook for IT spending," Richard Gordon, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement.

The floods in Thailand, which affected one-third of the country, are dramatically constraining the supply of hard drives, Gartner noted.

"Thailand has been a major hub for hard-drive manufacturing, both for finished goods and components," Gordon said. "We estimate the supply of hard drives will be reduced by as much as 25 percent (and possibly more) during the next six to nine months. Rebuilding the destroyed manufacturing facilities will also take time and the effects of this will continue to ripple throughout 2012 and very likely into 2013."

The larger PC makers will experience fewer problems because of the hard drive shortage, but the entire industry will still feel the repercussions, causing Gartner to lower its PC shipment forecast for the year.

The euro crisis is also taking a toll on both consumers and businesses and will likely cause IT spending to drop by almost 1 percent across Western Europe this year, Gartner said.

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