In its latest global tech market forecast released today, Forrester is forecasting 5.4% growth (local currencies) in global tech spending in 2013 — but, notes analyst Andrew Bartels, the year will be better than it looks from the headline. Aside from Europe, which will grow minimally in 2013 as it continues to rebound from its recession, other geographies will grow: the United States by 7.5% and Asia Pacific by 4%. In Latin America and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, tech buying will increase by 9% over the next two years.
Forrester contends that a lot of the economic instability affecting markets today — such as the fiscal cliff, the European recession, and the leadership transition in China — will be in the past and that firms should look at 2013 as transition year before increasing spending in 2014 when spending will grow to 6.7% globally.
The forecast “assumed a compromise of this kind (re: the fiscal cliff) would happen. We also assumed that the European economies would remain weak in 2013 before starting to recover in 2014; that Japan’s economy would slip back into no-growth territory; and that China’s economy and those in other emerging markets would pick up after slowing in 2012. Against that economic backdrop, we think that the global tech market will do a bit better in 2013 than it did in 2012 and will do even better in 2014,” blogs Bartels, a Forrester vice president and principal analyst
The tech market is being transformed by mobility, cloud computing, and smart computing, which are highly desired because of their transformative potential. Once the economic squeeze on IT budgets ends, the pent-up demand for new technologies will surface and drive the growth in tech spending. That will be the story of 2013 and 2014.
One product category that continues to stall is computer hardware. PC vendors had a lousy 2012, with zero growth in total, and server vendors did even worse, with a 4% decline. Weakness will persist in 2013, with purchases of both servers and storage declining and peripherals slowing to 3%. The 4% growth in PCs in 2013 looks more promising, but that is mostly due to growth in tablets, which Forrester counts in the broader PC category.
One hardware vendor continues to buck this trend: Apple. Forrester estimates that Apple will sell $7 billion of Macs and $11 billion of iPads to the corporate market in 2013, and $8 billion in Macs and $13 billion of iPads in 2014. Global corporate spending on Wintel PCs and tablets was down by 4% in 2012 and will be flat in 2013 as firms slowly replace their old Windows PCs with Windows 8 devices. Finally, in 2014, increased PC demand and improved Windows 8 devices will lead to a strong 8% increase of these products, but that growth will still be less than the double-digit growth for Linux, Android, and Apple products.