New research from market intelligence firm IDC predicts that global public IT cloud services spending will reach $56.6bn (£35.4bn) in 2014, hitting $127bn (£79.4bn) by 2018.
According to the organisation, this represents a five-year compound annual growth rate of 22.8%, about six times the rate of growth for the overall IT market.
It believes public IT cloud services will account for more than half of worldwide software, server and storage spending growth in 2018.
“Over the next four to five years, IDC expects the community of developers to triple and to create a ten-fold increase in the number of new cloud-based solutions,” claimed IDC senior vice president Frank Gens, who is also chief analyst.
“Many of these solutions will become more strategic than traditional IT has ever been. At the same time, there will be unprecedented competition and consolidation among the leading cloud providers.
“This combination of explosive innovation and intense competition will make the next several years a pivotal period for current and aspiring IT market leaders,” he added.
IDC claims this strong cloud growth is down to the adoption of “cloud first” strategies by both the buyers and the IT suppliers expanding their offerings.
The firm also says that the cloud services market is now entering an “innovation stage” that will produce an explosion of new solutions and value creation on top of the cloud.
It adds that these new solutions will be in industry-focused platforms, helping companies to reshape how they operate IT and how they compete in their industry.
The research predicts that cloud services will reach into almost every B2B and consumer services marketplace.
IDC expects Software as a Service (SaaS) to dominate public IT cloud services spending as it accounts for 705 of 2014 cloud services expenditures.
This will be followed by Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), while Platform as a Service and cloud storage services will be the fastest growing categories.