Global IT spending is set to see growth despite continued economic uncertainty, reaching $3.8 trillion (£2.5 trillion) in 2013, though data centre spending in EMEA could be adversely affected.

Analysts predict in the Gartner Worldwide IT Spending Forecast that the spending levels across sectors such as hardware, software and telecoms are set to rise 4.1 percent compared to 2012.  It is expected that a similar level of growth will be reached the following year, with a 4.0 percent increase forecast for 2014.

The biggest increase will come from sales of hardware devices such as tablets, smartphones and laptops, with spending expected to grow 7.9 percent to $718 billion (£474 billion) this year, despite a slowdown in PC sales.  The popularity of high-end smartphones meant that Gartner increased its original growth estimate of 6.3 percent for the year.

Enterprise software spending is set to reach $297 billion (£196 billion), an increase of 6.4 percent from the previous year.  The software market will be supported by growth in database management systems (DBMS), data integration tools and supply chain management software, making up for poor sales of operating system software despite the release of Windows 8.

The largest chunk of this spending is expected to come from the telecoms sector, growing 2.0 percent to $1.7 trillion (£1.1 trillion) this year.

Data centre systems spending is also forecast to grow, up 3.7 percent to $146 billion (£96 billion), though analysts revised their estimates downwards by 0.7 due to concerns about enterprise spending in the ‘troubled’ EMEA region.

"The global steady growth rates are a calm ocean that hides turbulent currents beneath," said John Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner. "The Nexus of Forces — social, mobile, cloud and information — are reshaping spending patterns across all of the IT sectors that Gartner forecasts. Consumers and enterprises will continue to purchase a mix of IT products and services; nothing is going away completely.

“However, the ratio of this mix is changing dramatically and there are clear winners and losers over the next three to five years, as we see more of a transition from PCs to mobile phones, from servers to storage, from licensed software to cloud, or the shift in voice and data connections from fixed to mobile." 

Richard Gordon, managing vice president at Gartner, noted that global IT outlay has largely remained unaffected by the economic headwinds at play in many regions.

"Although the United States did avoid the fiscal cliff, the subsequent sequestration, compounded by the rise of Cyprus' debt burden, seems to have netted out any benefit, and the fragile business and consumer sentiment throughout much of the world continues," said Richard Gordon, managing vice president at Gartner.

"However, the new shocks are expected to be short-lived, and while they may cause some pauses in discretionary spending along the way, strategic IT initiatives will continue."