30 Aug 2021

Investment in Artificial Intelligence Solutions Will Accelerate as Businesses Seek Insights, Efficiency, and Innovation, According to a New IDC Spending Guide

NEEDHAM, Mass., August 30, 2021 – Businesses and organizations across all industries are increasing their investment in artificial intelligence (AI) to create competitive advantage through improved customer insight, greater employee efficiency, and accelerated innovation. The new Worldwide Artificial Intelligence Spending Guide from International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts global spending on AI systems will jump from $85.3 billion in 2021 to more than $204 billion in 2025. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the 2021-2025 period will be 24.5%.

"The disruption through the global pandemic has been unsettling, but it is also serving as a catalyst for innovation, growth, and business transformations," said Ritu Jyoti, group vice president, Artificial Intelligence and Automation Research with IDC's software market research and advisory practice. "Today, AI expertise is focused more on developing commercial applications that optimize efficiencies in existing industries. Acceleration of AI adoption and proliferation of smart, intuitive ML/DL algorithms will spawn the creation of new industries and business segments and overall will trigger new opportunities for business monetization."

Retail and Banking are the two industries that will spend the most on AI solutions over the five-year forecast period with Retail spending growing at a slightly faster rate. Retail AI spending will largely focus on solutions that improve the customer experience through automated customer service and recommendation engines. The Banking industry will allocate much of its AI investment to risk reduction through automated threat intelligence and fraud analysis applications. The third largest industry for AI spending, Discrete Manufacturing, will invest primarily in quality management and automated preventative maintenance solutions. In terms of spending growth, all 19 industries in the Spending Guide are expected to have compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) greater than 20% over the 2021-2025 forecast period.

The two largest use cases in terms of total spending across all industries are Automated Customer Service Agents and Sales Process Recommendation and Automation. Together, these two use cases will account for $15.9 billion or more than 18% of all AI spending this year. While this shows an orientation toward better customer experience across industries, how the solutions are used will vary from industry to industry. For example, Federal and Central Government will use AI solutions to help constituents find the most suitable government service while Retail will focus on helping shoppers to identify additional items to purchase.

The next five use cases were closely bunched at just over $5 billion in spending this year – IT Optimization; Automated Threat Intelligence and Prevention Systems; Program Advisors and Recommendation Systems; Fraud Analysis and Investigation; and Automated Preventative Maintenance. Similar to AI spending by industry, all 27 AI use cases in the Spending Guide are expected to have CAGRs greater than 20% over the five-year forecast period.

"In addition to the customer experience, a lot of AI investment is geared towards improving efficiency. IDC believes these implementations will migrate towards developing and enhancing new business models," said Mike Glennon, senior research manager with IDC's Customer Insights & Analysis team. "New ways of conducting business will fundamentally change how companies interact with their customers and will encourage new players across many industries. We have already seen dramatic changes in retail with companies such as Alibaba and Amazon, and other industries will follow as they discover how they can benefit from changes in how business is done using AI. AI will have an impact in all stages of business, from customer interactions, through supply chain improvements, to new and yet to be thought of services."

Software will be the leading technology group accounting for more than half of all spending on AI solutions throughout the forecast. The largest areas of investment will be AI Applications and AI Development & Deployment software while AI Lifecycle Software will experience the fastest spending growth with a five-year CAGR of 40.7%. A quarter of all AI spending will go toward Services with IT Services seeing spending totals similar to those for AI Applications. Hardware spending will be dominated by server purchases.

On a geographic basis, the United States will deliver more than half of all AI spending throughout the forecast, led by the Retail and Banking industries. Western Europe will be the second largest geographic region, led by Banking, Retail, and Discrete Manufacturing. China will be the third largest region for AI spending with State/Local Government, Banking, and Process Manufacturing as the leading industries. The strongest spending growth over the five-year forecast will be in Western Europe (26.9% CAGR) and Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan and China) (25.1% CAGR).

The Worldwide Artificial Intelligence Spending Guide sizes spending for technologies that analyze, organize, access, and provide advisory services based on a range of unstructured information. The Spending Guide quantifies the AI opportunity by providing data for 27 use cases across 19 industries in nine regions and 32 countries. Data is also available for the related hardware, software, and services categories.

Taxonomy Note: The IDC Worldwide Artificial Intelligence Spending Guide uses a very precise definition of what constitutes an AI Application in which the application must have an AI component that is crucial to the application – without this AI component the application will not function. This distinction enables the Spending Guide to focus on those software applications that are strongly AI Centric. In comparison, the IDC Worldwide Semiannual Artificial Intelligence Tracker uses a broad definition of AI Applications that includes applications where the AI component is non-centric, or not fundamental, to the application. This enables the inclusion of vendors that have incorporated AI capabilities into their software, but the applications are not exclusively used for AI functions only. In other words, the application will function without the inclusion of the AI component.

About IDC Spending Guides

IDC's Spending Guides provide a granular view of key technology markets from a regional, vertical industry, use case, buyer, and technology perspective. The spending guides are delivered via pivot table format or custom query tool, allowing the user to easily extract meaningful information about each market by viewing data trends and relationships.

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About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,100 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology, IT benchmarking and sourcing, and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC's analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a wholly owned subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG), the world's leading tech media, data, and marketing services company. To learn more about IDC, please visit www.idc.com. Follow IDC on Twitter at @IDC and LinkedIn. Subscribe to the IDC Blog for industry news and insights.


For more information, contact:

Michael Shirer

Mike Glennon
+44 7710 126 547