ASEAN nations set to see IT spending surge after year of contraction

Market is set to bounce back after last year's decline

ASEAN nations including Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia are expected to enjoy a 4.7 per cent year-on-year surge in IT spending this year, while Singapore could see up to 5.2 per cent growth in 2021.

This is according to the latest forecasts by industry analyst firm Gartner, which projects worldwide end-user spending on IT products and services to total US$3.9 trillion in 2021, an increase of 6.2 per cent over 2020 figures, when investment declined a little over three per cent.

Looking at ASEAN and Asia Pacific specifically, Gartner expects what it refers to as the ‘emerging Asia Pacific’ market to experience 4.7 per cent annual growth in IT spend this year, to US$236 billion.  

Gartner’s ‘emerging Asia Pacific’ market category includes India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and other countries in the Asia Pacific region, not including China, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand or South Korea. Next year, the news is even better, with this region expected to see a 6.4 per cent increase in spending, year-on-year, with the industry set to net around US$251 billion.  

By comparison, the ‘emerging Asia Pacific’ market weathered a 6.1 per cent decrease in spending, compared to the prior year, pulling in US$225 billion – no doubt after being hit by the effects of COVID-19 like most other regions.

Gartner’s definition of the ‘mature Asia Pacific’ market, meanwhile, is expected to enjoy a 5.2 per cent year-on-year increase in IT spend in 2021, to US$169 billion.  

This ‘mature’ market includes Singapore, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Last year these countries collectively saw a fall of 1.7 per cent in annual growth, to US$160 billion – a fairly slim decline by global standards.  

Next year, growth in this ‘mature’ market is expected to normalise somewhat, with forecasts putting it at 3.1 per cent, year-on-year, equating to about US$174 billion.  

At the same time, Greater China – including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan – is expected to enjoy substantial growth of 10.4 per cent this year, netting US$498 billion, but is likely to see slimmer growth in 2022, with Gartner projecting an increase of 3.6 per cent, or about US$516 billion.  

Gartner’s latest forecasts represent a marked recovery from global 2020 predictions.

In May, Gartner said that IT spending across the globe was projected to total US$3.4 trillion in 2020, a decline of eight per cent from 2019 due to the impact of COVID-19, and the pandemic will continue to affect IT spending.

“Digital business represents the dominant technology trend in late 2020 and early 2021 with areas such as cloud computing, core business applications, security and customer experience at the forefront," said John-David Lovelock, distinguished research vice president at Gartner, in a statement.  

"Optimisation initiatives, such as hyper-automation, will continue, and the focus of these projects will remain on returning cash and eliminating work from processes, not just tasks.”