Virus be damned, IT spending expected to grow 5% globally in 2020, IDC says

Coronavirus
The coronavirus poses a threat to expected 5% growth in IT spending in 2020 as businesses keep a tight rein on short term investments, IDC says. (Pixabay)

Spending on information technology globally is forecast to grow by 5% in 2020, according to analyst firm IDC.

Here are the big trends: Investments in software and services will remain roughly stable. Smartphone sales will recover with 5G upgrades in the second half of the year. PC sales will be way down, as projected earlier, now that Windows 10 upgrades have mostly taken place.

However, the coronavirus outbreak will cause uncertainty, forcing businesses to keep a tight rein on short term investments, IDC said.

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IDC’s more detailed analysis shows that IoT and robotics spending will soar by 16%, part of an overall increase of 6% for IT spending and telecom services for a total of $5.2 trillion for 2020. IDC adjusted that 6% increase down to a 5% increase to reflect currency fluctuations.

Without smartphones, IT spending growth will be 4% for 2020, down from 7% growth in 2019, IDC forecast.

PC sales will be down by 6% in 2020, compared to the 7% uptick in 2019. 

“Much of this year’s growth is dependent on a positive smartphone cycle as the year progresses, but this is under threat from disruption caused by the coronavirus crisis,” IDC vice president Stephen Minton said in a statement.

China is a driver for much of the IT spending growth and is expected to see IT spending grow by 12% in 2020, up from 4% in 2019. Again, the coronavirus, which originated in China, is likely to inhibit this growth, but IDC didn’t put a figure on how much. The U.S. should see 7% IT spending growth in 2020, while western Europe will see a 3% increase.

For the next five years, IDC believes annual growth will continue to be 6% fueled by investments in cloud and other technologies such as AI, AR/VR, blockchain, IoT, robotics and big data and analytics.

RELATED: Gaming bright spot in PC market, says IDC

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