The demand for computer hardware is on the rise, according to a report released Thursday by Gartner. The research firm projects that global spending on information technology will grow 5.1% in 2011 as a result of that increase in demand, as well as a weak dollar that makes prices for U.S. goods and services competitive internationally.

The company previously had forecast a 3.5% growth rate for this year. It now expects the IT industry will see revenue of almost $3.5 trillion in 2011, up from $3.4 trillion in 2010 and approximately $3.2 trillion in 2009.

Companies and governments in developing nations are driving the growth by buying more computers, software and IT services, offsetting the relatively sluggish U.S. and Western Europe economies. Gartner predicts much of the boost will come from spending on telecommunications equipment, which it expects will grow 9.1% this year on rising demand for smartphones, and from enterprise software, which it expects will accelerate to 7.5% from 6.1% growth.

"Investment in IT is seen increasingly as an important element in business growth strategies," Richard Gordon, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement. "As the global economy repairs itself in coming years, we are optimistic about continued healthy spending on IT."

Telecommunications services, which are seeing slowing growth, accounts for about 45% of IT spending, while information technology services makes up about 23%, according to Gartner.

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