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IDC: decline, not growth, for APAC IT spending

26 Mar 2020

In 2020, ICT spending in Asia Pacific, excluding Japan and China (APeJ), will significantly drop to 1.2% growth (pessimistic scenario) or worse based on forecast adjustments from the COVID-19 impact across the region, according to the February IDC Worldwide Black Book Live Edition.

In January 2020, IDC forecasted APeJC IT spending to grow by over 5.2% this year. However, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hamper economic activities around the globe impacting businesses and industries at nearly every level, and IT markets will not be spared. 

When China and Japan are included, that number drops further to a decline of 2% (-2% growth).

Globally the IT spend is expected to grow at a rate of 1.3% compared to the earlier prediction of 5.1%. 

Due to the extended uncertainty period and rising cases of COVID-19, these growth forecasts are predicted to further decline as we approach the March prediction.

“Some of the biggest impacts we have seen as a result of COVID-19 are the changing demands on technologies, processes, and mindsets in relation to work-from-home (WFH) mandates and supply chain disruptions,” says IDC Asia/Pacific practice group vice president Sandra Ng.

“Not all organisations have the culture or the experience in enabling a WFH workforce. Even for organisations in the tech industry, the increased capacity load on network, cloud and other technologies are unprecedented. Based on the latest data of our Future of Work Employee Survey 2020, in countries like Singapore, India, Hong Kong and A/NZ where considerable organisations provide WFH, we have already seen an uptake of video meetings, audio conference calls, and collaboration platforms as a result of rethinking work.”

For supply chain disruptions, which started in China and has rippled around the globe – the challenges of logistics are keenly felt as countries employ border controls and restrict the movement of people. 

This impacts SMB’s the most, which in turn will have an impact on all organizations as non-delivery of a single crew can mean even the largest product cannot be assembled and shipped,” says Christopher Holmes, Managing Director at IDC Insights Asia/Pacific.

Key findings:

Hardware – Devices (which includes Personal Computing, Mobile Phones and Peripherals) make around 80% of the overall hardware spend and drives the overall IT spend in the region. 

Sales of devices will be significantly impacted under a pessimistic forecast, creating both a supply-side production crunch as well as increasing demand-side challenges as the virus spreads to other countries. 

IDC’s February pessimistic scenario assessment shows that devices will be impacted the most, registering a declining growth of -3% versus its original forecast of +3% in 2020.

Software – Software spending would see a slowdown due to business impact in Transportation, Manufacturing, Retail, Personal and Consumer Services, and Banking (lending), which consequently is delaying the discretionary spend on software licenses. 

IDC estimates that the impact would be seen across all software markets like Application Development and Deployment, Applications, and System Infrastructure Software with the exception of digital workplace, cloud platform and automation technologies which can aid in the current situation.

IT Service – Compared to hardware, the COVID-19 pandemic has a constrained negative impact on the IT services market. 

IT services spending which was estimated to grow by 5.6% will now register a growth of 4.6% instead in 2020. This dip is observed due to the renegotiation of contracts, especially those due for extension or renewal this year. 

The overall Asia/Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ) services market is likely to experience a hit in the first eight to nine months and rebound in the remaining of the year (should the virus be contained by early Q3 in the region). 

While the outbreak negatively impacts the overall sentiment of enterprise spend, especially among sectors like travel, retail, hospitality, supply chains, and manufacturing, it also heightens the need for enterprises to bolster remote working capabilities and digital collaboration infrastructure (e.g. handling an exponential increase in simultaneous video sessions).

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