Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Tech Spending Will Reach $3.7 Trillion in 2013, Gartner Predicts

good_news_bad_newsIt’s not often in this racket we call the news business that we get to talk about trillions of dollars — unless you spend a lot of time writing about the federal budget and the national debt. But this is one of those times.

In its latest survey of global spending on technology, the research firm Gartner said today that companies, consumers and governments will spend a combined $3.7 trillion. The good news is that this amounts to a two percent increase over spending levels seen in 2012. The bad news is that the predicted rate of growth is slower than what the firm anticipated only a few months ago.

Last month, Gartner said it expected spending to grow by 4.1 percent, but trimmed that by half in its latest estimates, based largely on fluctuations in the strength of the U.S. dollar versus other global currencies. On what is called a “constant currency” basis, when those effects are discounted, the growth rate comes out to 3.5 percent, Gartner said, which amounts to a much smaller decline in the rate of growth.

Now that we’ve handled that bit of housekeeping, you’re probably eager to know where that growth is coming from. There’s a good news/bad news picture there, too. The bad news is that spending on devices — which Gartner defines as anything that’s considered a personal device, be it a PC, mobile phone or tablet — is expected to grow less than before. Previously, the firm expected nearly eight percent growth. Now it expects spending in that portion of the tech economy to grow much more slowly, by 2.8 percent, from $676 billion last year to $695 billion this year.

The main culprit is the PC market, which, as has been noted previously, has fallen off a cliff and declined at a rate not seen since records have been kept. And while sales of tablets and mobile phones are still growing at a healthy clip, it’s not enough to replace the lost revenue from PC sales, Gartner said.

The better news is in the enterprise software business, which is smaller, but growing faster. Gartner expects a growth rate of 6.4 percent, to $304 billion, up from $285 billion last year.

Spending on systems for data centers will grow a little to $143 billion, up from $140 billion last year. IT services will grow a little, too, up to $926 billion from $906 billion. More good news: Telecom services, the biggest sector, will reverse the decline it saw last year, and grow slightly to $1.66 trillion, from $1.64 trillion last year.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus