Worldwide revenues for the AI market – including software, hardware, and services – are forecast to grow 16.4% year over year in 2021 to US$327.5 billion, according to the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Worldwide Semiannual Artificial Intelligence Tracker.
By 2024, the market is expected to break the US$500 billion mark with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.5% and total revenues reaching US$554.3 billion.
Software forms bulk of growth revenue
Of the three technology categories, software represented 88% of the total AI market revenues in 2020. However, it is the slowest growing category with a five-year CAGR of 17.3%. Within the AI software category, AI applications took the largest share of revenue at 50% in 2020.
In terms of growth, the AI Software Platforms market is forecast to be the strongest with a five-year CAGR of 32.7%. The slowest will be AI System Infrastructure Software with a five-year CAGR of 13.7% while accounting for roughly 35% of AI software revenues. Within the AI Applications market, AI ERM is expected to grow slightly stronger than AI CRM over the next five years.
"The global pandemic has pushed AI to the top of the corporate agenda, empowering business resilience and relevance," says Ritu Jyoti, program vice president for AI Research at IDC.
"AI is becoming ubiquitous across all the functional areas of a business. Advancements in Machine Learning, Conversational AI, and Computer Vision AI are at the forefront of AI software innovations, architecting converged business and IT process optimisations, predictions and recommendations, and enabling transformative customer and employee experiences."
AI services to pick up this year
The AI Services category grew slower than the overall AI market with 13% annual revenue growth in 2020. However, it is forecast to grow 17.4% year over year in 2021, outperforming the overall AI market by approximately 1%. Its five-year CAGR is expected to be 18.4% with revenues reaching US$37.4 billion by 2024.
This technology category is broken down into two market segments: IT Services and Business Services. IT Services is the larger of the two, accounting for nearly 80% of all AI Services revenue.
From a growth perspective, IT Services for AI tends to grow faster than Business Services for AI except for 2021, where Business Services is forecast to perform slightly better than both IT Services for AI and the overall AI Services market.
"Though the pandemic interrupted the momentum of worldwide AI services market growth, enterprise demand for AI capabilities to support business resiliency and augment human productivity sustained double-digit expansion in 2020, even as other discretionary projects experienced delays," said Jennifer Hamel, research manager, Analytics and Intelligent Automation Services.
"Client demand for technical expertise to develop, implement, and manage AI applications drives IT services expansion, while increasing adoption of AI-enabled automation within business processes boosts spending on business services."
AI hardware market
The AI hardware market is the smallest category, with approximately 5% share of overall AI revenues in 2020. The share is forecast to increase slightly in 2021 at the expense of AI Software.
The AI Server market grew faster than the AI Storage market in 2020, but these results are expected to reverse in 2021 when AI storage is forecast to grow 31.8% year over year compared to 26.4% for the AI Server market. By 2024, AI Hardware is forecast to be a $30.5 billion market with AI Servers representing an 82% revenue share.
"The AI server and storage markets continue to see rapid growth, providing an increasingly specialised and innovative infrastructure foundation under the entire AI landscape," said Peter Rutten, research director, Infrastructure Systems, Platforms and Technologies at IDC.