In an effort to boost productivity, the IT industry is increasingly shifting toward software, according to research from IDC.
The latest figures from IDS show that software sales accounted for 13.2% of the overall market last year, up from 12.5% in 2015.
The trend has been accelerating in recent years.
In 2017, software revenue in the U.S. jumped to $1.4 trillion from $1 trillion in 2016, and in 2018 it jumped to a record $1,082.6 billion.
The increase has been fueled by new and improved tools for data management and data visualization, as well as a rise in mobile devices, said IDC chief market analyst Dan Stober.
“This has been driven in part by cloud-based platforms, which have seen tremendous growth in the last year and are likely to continue to grow,” Stober said.
“They’re also helping businesses to streamline their IT processes.”
IDC says the number of employees working in IT has increased by about 3.5 million to 1.6 million last year.
The rise in software has resulted in a rise of around 2.6% in sales from 2016 to 2017.
The growth in sales was driven by growth in cloud-computing services and software development services, and the decline in hardware and other services.
While software sales have seen a boost in recent months, it remains the largest single component of total sales.
The top three vendors are Oracle, Microsoft and SAP.
IDC projects that the next-largest software vendors will be Apple and Intel.