Arik Hesseldahl

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Gartner Says Worldwide IT Spending to Grow, Despite Japan Earthquake

After the disastrous earthquake and ensuing tsunami and nuclear power crises hammered Japan earlier this year, conventional wisdom held that the worldwide tech economy would be similarly affected on two fronts: A supply chain disruption was likely, given the number of important components manufactured in Japan, and there would be a ripple effect resulting from a decline in tech spending in that country.

It turns out worldwide spending on IT by companies is proving surprisingly resilient given the circumstances, according to a new forecast by the market research firm Gartner. The firm expects overall tech spending to grow by 7.1 percent this year, representing an upward revision from a previous forecast of 5.6 percent.

In dollar terms that works out to a total forecast of $3.6 trillion. Of that, Gartner expects $419 billion to be spent on computing hardware, $268 billion on enterprise software, $846 billion on IT services, and $2.1 trillion on telecommunications. (It’s fun to type the word “trillion” and not be referring to federal spending.)

“It is a bit surprising that we have not seen a more significant impact on our global IT spending forecast as a result of the Japan earthquake and tsunami, but despite widespread concerns about disruptions to the supply of critical components in the initial aftermath of the natural disaster, there has not been a dramatic impact on overall IT spending,” Gartner’s vice president for research Richard Gordon said in a statement.

Spending on cloud services is a big factor in the forecast. Gartner says cloud-related spending is growing four times faster than IT spending, and will reach $89 billion this year. However, it’s informative to note that despite that intense growth, cloud spending amounts to less than three percent of the overall IT spend.

Even so, cloud category punches above its weight in importance. Gartner says that software-as-service applications — is a classic example — account for about $10 billion, or about 10 percent of spending on enterprise software. More from Gartner here.

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