IT spending to drop 6 percent in '09, Gartner says

Worldwide IT spending will fall to $3.2 trillion this year, according to Gartner. But spending is expected to recover in 2010, growing 2.3 percent.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney

Hit by the economic downturn and fluctuating exchange rates, worldwide IT spending is expected to drop 6 percent this year, according to a new Gartner report.

Spending will likely settle in at $3.2 trillion for 2009, compared with $3.4 trillion in 2008. Last year, IT spending had actually surged by 6.2 percent over 2007.

Due to the ongoing recession, the projected 6 percent spending decline is greater than Gartner's original forecast of a 3.8 percent drop, which the firm made in March.

"While the global economic downturn shows signs of easing, this year IT budgets are still being cut, and consumers will need a lot more persuading before they can feel confident enough to loosen their purse strings," Richard Gordon, head of global forecasting at Gartner, said in a statement Tuesday.

This year's spending decline touches all four major IT segments tracked by Gartner--hardware, software, IT services, and telecommunications. Hardware spending will see the sharpest drop at 16.3 percent, while software spending will ease down only 1.6 percent.

For comparison, Gartner noted, a drop in all four segments did not occur during the last major downturn in 2001.

As the global economy revives, Gartner believes IT spending will shoot up 2.3 percent next year. Overall, Gartner expects IT spending to grow annually at a weak 1.9 percent rate from 2008 through 2013.