The meteoric rise of the data centre: Global data centre investment outlook


Deal activity in data centre infrastructure has reached unprecedented levels. The total value of data centre infrastructure transactions in 2021 more than doubled from the previous year to USD59.5 billion. The total number of data centre transactions increased by 64% in the same period, up from 69 in 2020 to 117 in 2021. And this extraordinary growth is expected to continue – in the first half of 2022 alone, we have already seen 41 transactions worth USD21.3 billion, double the USD10.6 billion total over the same period in 2021.

Our report, The meteoric rise of the data centre: Global data centre investment outlook, examines the reasons behind this surge in activity and the increasingly significant role ESG has to play when making investments.

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This research, in association with Inframation, involved a survey of 100 senior executives from infrastructure, equity and debt provider firms and data centre operators around the world, in order to gain direct industry insight into the drivers behind increasing demand, the obstacles experienced when making investments and the outlook for investment opportunity across different regions in the next 24 months.

Key findings

  • Meteoric rise in data centre investments - The volume of investment in global data centres more than doubled year-on-year in 2021, rising to USD59.5 billion. The total number of transactions also increased, rising by 64% to 117. The global boom has continued so far in 2022 and looks set to continue this year and onwards, despite economic and geopolitical headwinds.

  • ESG is a growing priority - Almost all (94%) senior executives say ESG has become more important in the past 24 months. Yet, senior executives in Europe and the United States pay closer attention to ESG than those in Asia-Pacific.

  • Geographical shift in investments - China, India, and the United States topped the table for expected investment in the next 24 months.

  • Energy security holds high value - 90% of equity investors, 89% of developers and 85% of debt providers would pay a premium to invest in a site with good energy security.

We also held a panel discussion and live Q&A with senior industry experts on Tuesday 14 June, to assess the findings of this report.

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