LONDON (Reuters) - Worldwide IT spending will grow by 3.1 percent to $3.8 trillion this year after a broadly flat 2013 and will be driven by businesses starting to harness 'big data' garnered from smartphones and other devices, analysts Gartner said on Monday.
'Big data' is the ability to process and analyze the mass of data collected by companies, for example mobile phone operators, retailers and airlines, to provide insights that give them an edge over rivals.
Enterprise software will be the most buoyant IT sector in 2014, Gartner said, with global spending set to rise 6.8 percent to $320 billion.
"Investment is coming from exploiting analytics to make B2C (business to consumer) processes more efficient and improve customer marketing efforts," Richard Gordon, managing vice president at Gartner, said in a statement.
Global spending on IT grew only 0.4 percent in 2013, confounding Gartner's prediction for growth to accelerate to 4.2 percent and down from 1.2 percent in 2012.
Spending on devices, including PCs, mobile phones and tablets, will grow 4.3 percent in 2014, Gartner said, after contracting 1.2 percent in 2013.
However, the research group downgraded its forecast for growth in telecom services, which account for more than 40 percent of total IT spending, to 1.2 percent from a previous 1.9 percent, on factors such as declining voice rates in China.
(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Gareth Jones)