Global Tech Spending Down 4 Pct, But ‘Work From Home’ Spending Gives A Boost

Tech companies' shortfall for IT purchases might not be as bad as previously foretold

Companies around the globe are looking at a a 4.1 percent decline in spending on technology as the coronavirus pandemic eats into revenues.

That’s a different outcome from the 4 percent rise in spending on tech that was predicted before the crisis started.

U.S.-based Enterprise Technology Research (ETR) forecasted the drop, which could be anywhere from 3.7 to 4.1 percent in IT spending this year. That was based on a poll of 1,300 global executives and officials looking at their possible futures as the virus wreaks havoc on people’s health and the economy.

But the drop will actually be less than some companies feared weeks ago as the virus hit. That’s because many companies still working are doing so from home amid numerous lockdowns in states and countries across the globe.

And as such, around 21 percent of companies surveyed by ETR have had to jump-start IT spending to accommodate people who need new equipment or infrastructure to implement “work from home” structures. The increase varied from 1 percent to 30 percent of those companies’ IT budget this year. Companies working in healthcare, education and finance were among those that reported the need to raise spending.

One official in the education sector for North America said some spending would be shifted to mobile devices for people to work remotely. But the official, who declined to be named because of the confidential nature of the survey participants, said the education sector was having trouble getting more laptops and similar devices fast enough from suppliers.

The coronavirus, because of its high infection rate and quickly-spreading numbers of hospitalizations and deaths across the world, has had leaders and officials warning people to stay home and avoid being around large groups of other people to avoid spreading or catching the virus. Companies, in turn, have had to adapt with a ferocious speed, letting workers do their jobs from home when that had never been the case before.