Plummeting sales of printers and PCs and a growing inflation crisis aside, IT spending will remain strong through 2022, rising 3% year-over-year to a total of $4.5 trillion, according to projections released by Gartner Research.\n\nThe 3% increase in total IT spending represents slower growth than in 2021, as the economy as a whole and the IT sector in particular began to recover from the effects of the pandemic, and growth will largely be driven by cloud services and the data center, Gartner said.\n\nAccording to John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner, inflationary pressures are top-of-mind for most IT decision-makers at the moment, which creates a degree of uncertainty\u2014high prices today could become even higher tomorrow.\n\n"Organizations that do not invest in the short term will likely fall behind in the medium term and risk not being around in the long term," warned Lovelock in a statement. "The current levels of volatility seen in both inflation and currency exchange rates is not expected to deter CIOs' investment plans for 2022."\n\nInflation is making itself felt in another way, as well, in combination with economic uncertainty driven by the Russian invasion of Ukraine\u2014enterprises are moving heavily away from an ownership model of IT to a service-based one, with cloud spending expected to rise by 22.1% in 2022, according to Gartner.\n\nIt's not all doom-and-gloom for the hardware sector, either, however, as this increased demand for cloud services will push hyperscalers like Amazon, Microsoft and Google to build out capacity. An annual growth rate of 16.6% for server spending will go some way to offset the projected 5% drop in PC, tablet and printer sales, Gartner's predictions indicated.\n\nManaged services on the rise\n\nThe IT talent crunch, as well, has complicated IT spending analysis, Gartner noted. Service providers have been forced to increase prices in order to offer more competitive compensation, which is another factor pushing CIOs toward managed services and the cloud, as hiring in-house IT staff becomes more and more expensive.\n\nThese market trends could put small and medium-size businesses, in particular, in a difficult position, according to Gartner senior principal analyst Linglan Wang. Higher prices, combined with a sharper motivation to invest in IT sooner rather than later, is likely to be much less of a financial headache for large enterprises than it is for SMBs.\n\n"Polarization is certainly seen across all IT markets, with a \u2018big becoming bigger, winner takes all' situation," she said. "We forecast this trend is going to continue over the next couple of years."