Worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services is forecast to grow 18.4 percent in 2021 to total $304.9 billion, up from $257.5 billion in 2020, according to Gartner, Inc.

Commenting on the development, Sid Nag, research vice president at Gartner, said, “The pandemic validated cloud’s value proposition. The ability to use on-demand, scalable cloud models to achieve cost efficiency and business continuity is providing the impetus for organisations to rapidly accelerate their digital business transformation plans. The increased use of public cloud services has reinforced cloud adoption to be the ‘new normal,’ now more than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic forced organisations to quickly focus on three priorities: preserve cash and optimise IT costs, support and secure a remote workforce, and ensure resiliency. Investing in cloud became a convenient means to address all three of these needs.”

The proportion of IT spending that is shifting to cloud will accelerate in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, with cloud projected to make up 14.2 per cent of the total global enterprise IT spending market in 2024, up from 9.1 per cent in 2020.

Although software as a service (SaaS) remains the largest market segment and is forecast to grow to $117.7 billion in 2021, application infrastructure services (PaaS) is anticipated to grow by a higher margin at 26.6 per cent (see Table 1). The increased consumption of PaaS is driven by the need for remote workers to have access to high performing, content-rich and scalable infrastructure to perform their duties, which largely comes in the form of modernised and cloud-native applications.

Table 1. Worldwide Public Cloud Services End-User Spending Forecast ($ Millions)

  2019 2020 2021 2022
Cloud Business Process Services (BPaaS)  

45,212

 

44,741

 

47,521

 

50,336

Cloud Application Infrastructure Services (PaaS)  

37,512

 

43,823

 

55,486

 

68,964

Cloud Application Services (SaaS)  

102,064

 

101,480

 

117,773

 

138,261

Cloud Management and Security Services  

12,836

 

14,880

 

17,001

 

19,934

Cloud System Infrastructure Services (IaaS)  

44,457

 

51,421

 

65,264

 

82,225

Desktop as a Service (DaaS)  

616

 

1,204

 

1,945

 

2,542

Total Market  

242,696

 

257,549

 

304,990

 

362,263

BPaaS = business process as a service; IaaS = infrastructure as a service; PaaS = platform as a service; SaaS = software as a service
Note: Totals may not add up due to rounding.

Source: Gartner (November 2020)

In fact, recent Gartner survey data indicates that almost 70 per cent of organisations using cloud services today plan to increase their cloud spending in the wake of the disruption caused by COVID-19.

As enterprises increase investments in mobility, collaboration, and other remote working technologies and infrastructure, Gartner expects growth in public cloud to be sustained through 2024. The rising trend of cloud service providers partnering with telecommunications companies to extend their reach into the edge and support a hybrid workforce may also lead to further market growth.

“As CIOs think more strategically about how to lay the foundations to support a return to growth, it is clear that the move to digital and associated services will play a big role for organisations in the future,” said Mr. Nag. “Cloud adoption therefore becomes a significant means to stay ahead in a post-COVID-19 world focused on agility and digital touchpoints.”

Gartner clients can read more in the report “Forecast: Public Cloud Services, Worldwide, 2018-2024, 3Q20 Update.” Learn more about how to Reset your business strategy section on gartner.com. Complimentary research, insights and webinars are offered to help leaders build resilience on their path to business recovery.

Learn more about how to lead organisations through the disruption of coronavirus in the Gartner coronavirus resource center, a collection of complimentary Gartner research and webinars to help organisations respond, manage and prepare for the rapid spread and global impact of COVID-19.