10 trends driving Thailand’s ICT spending and growth in 2013

Economic uncertainty and rapidly changing consumer demand will continue to have significant impacts on Thailand’s ICT market.

The growth of the smart connected devices market and newly developing IT service delivery models are prompting IT service providers as well as end-users in the enterprise and SMB sectors to evolve and adapt to the new reality. Moreover, changing buying behavior for IT products and services is resulting in a merging of the concepts of mobility, social applications and IT consumerization.

IDC believes that the growth of this year’s ICT market in Thailand will be largely driven by the four pillars shaping the future of the global ICT world – cloud, mobility, social business and big data/analytics – and the trends spawning from these concepts.

“Thailand’s ICT industry will be shaped by several factors in 2013,” says Attaphon Satidkanitkul, IDC Asia/Pacific’s Research Manager for Cross products & Consulting. “Demand for mobility from consumers and enterprises, evolving business delivery models that influence ICT spending, and the increasing competition among telecom service providers in the 3G era are among these factors.”

IDC’s latest forecast indicates that the Thai ICT market will expand by 9.8% in 2013, reaching USD 21 billion.

The latest IDC research and internal brainstorming sessions amongst IDC’s regional and country analysts have produced the following major 10 key ICT trends for Thailand in 2013.

IDC believes these trends will have the biggest commercial impact on the Thailand ICT market.

1. Thailand ICT spending will show solid growth but here will be challenges in adopting emerging technologies

ICT Spending in 2013 will be boosted by both enterprise and consumer markets. IDC expects heavy investment to continue from the top spending verticals such as financial services, telecoms and government. It has been evident since the second half of 2012 that organizations have increased their spending on ICT solutions, especially for hardware. However, questions remain as to whether or not enterprises can make the best use of emerging technologies such as big data/analytics and cloud technology.

Organizations in the government sector are expected to continue rolling out initiatives to connect with Government Cloud (G-cloud) and Government Information Network (GIN) to align with Smart Thailand Master Plan. Furthermore, ICT spending will also be fueled by heavy investment on 3G and telecom infrastructure. IDC expects the Thai ICT market to expand by 9.8% in 2013, reaching US$21 billion, while IT spending alone will account for US$12.5 billion.

2. Mobile data services continue to be the highlight of the telecom industry

IDC expects mobile data services to have a bright future in 2013 via services through wireless networks due to rising demand from end-users and the establishment of fully operational 3G services by the end of the second quarter of this year. IDC forecasts the growth of mobile data spending to reach 14% or US$1.7 billion with the proliferation of smart devices being the main catalyst demand for services via wireless network.

3. New IT Services delivery model growth will be driven by IT services providers (ITSP)

Along with hardware and networking systems, IT services will be one of the leading technology areas to contribute to IT spending in the Thailand market.

IT services revenue is one of the key indicators to evaluate system integrators’ performance and this year, IDC believes that the IT services delivery model will be converted from low level services delivery (such as maintenance and support services) – which generated low margins – to a value-based services delivery model.

This IT services offering will be customized to support real business processes. In other words, this delivery model will generate better revenue from ITSP’s side through quality of services. Outsourcing 3.0, multi-vendors management services, as well as on-demand managed services are good representatives of this new delivery model. In 2013, IDC predicts that the Thailand IT services market will grow by 14.2% year-on-year, reaching US$1.8 billion.

4. End of the robust growth of PC market

The PC – desktops and laptops – has dominated the personal computing market for many years. However, this trend is about to transform as PCs are making way for the emerging smart devices.

From 2013 onwards, IDC expects the growth of the PC market to slow considerably compared to past years. The Thailand PC market will likely expand only slightly and move toward flat growth in the future. That will force PC vendors and channel partners to adopt new strategies to protect their strong footing against new challengers. IDC forecasts that the Thailand PC market in 2013 will grow by less than 4% with around four million units shipped.

5. Smartphone and Tablet Market to become the New Battleground

Increasing popularity of smartphones and media tablets has made the smart devices market very exciting. With the help of dynamic behavior and the readiness of 3G services, IDC expects Thailand’s smartphone market to expand 40% year-on-year to reach 7.3 million units shipped. The tablet market will also grow at a similar rate with total shipment of 3.5 million units.

Not only will the demand multiply dramatically but also the market competition will also become more intense. One of the main criteria used when a consumer chooses smart devices is the Operating System and 2013 will see iOS and Android battling head to head to capture consumers’ mindshare.

Meanwhile, emerging Windows Phone 8 (WP8) and Blackberry (BB10) platforms will have to fight to establish their own place in the market. The challenges each platform faces will be different. iOS will have to deploy strategies to protect its market from the challenges of Android and Windows Phone, and Blackberry will inevitably have to present itself as an alternative of the 2 popular OS.

IDC believes that this battle will benefit consumers who will buy new smart devices based on attractive price and model selection, while mobile phone vendors will focus on pushing strategic marketing strategies with their respective channels to win share in the Thai market.

6. The surge of smart devices will catalyze the use of digital content

The popularity of smart devices such as smartphones and media tablets has already influenced the usage of digital content from business content applications to entertainment and lifestyle-related applications. IDC’s Consumerscape 360 research indicates that in 2012 55% of smart device users downloaded gaming applications, followed by social networking, music applications, navigation and photography. Convenient downloading and interaction with digital content has become commomplace for a large portion of the population and this will continue to grow as well as to impact both consumer and commercial usage of devices and data.

7. From consumerization to personal ecosystem

The use of smart devices in the workplace continued to grow in popularity in 2012. This has prompted many organizations to design policies to better serve and make better use of BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device), which in turn has enabled them to increase flexibility and productivity levels. In 2013, this is expected to become even more common and hence will encourage end-users to use smart devices to manage day-to-day work as well as personal tasks. As an example, a smartphone can be used as a notebook, a work tool, a converged device, a music player, an experience sharing device, as well as a multimedia device – all of which can be linked in to a work or personal ecosystem.

In addition, many consumers are looking to add a second (or third) smart device or use virtual online storage space in their portfolio to expand their ecosystems. These devices will always be connected to each other for real time communication and synchronization. For example, personal data transferred to virtual storage on public cloud system so the person can connect to a device anywhere at any time online. Also, data synchronization and personal profile transfer among connected smart devices via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi will become common in Thailand in 2013.

8. Cloud services will grow moderately with challenges

At present, the adoption of cloud technologies in Thailand is still relatively slow compared to other countries. Concern over security is the major barrier preventing organizations from fully adopting such services.

Nevertheless, IDC predicts that in 2013 Thailand cloud services in the form of public cloud and government cloud will emerge as drivers to increase confidence in cloud technologies. Growth will likely be moderate, but Applications-as-a-Service (AaaS) such as collaboration and productivity applications will receive the most attention.

9. Integrated Infrastructure will stir demand with a focus on security

The trend of converged solutions is becoming more apparent in the IT industry. End-users have started not only recognizing, but also reaping its benefits, and hence, are keen to build consolidated solutions to manage and control IT resources.

Infrastructure is going beyond just networking systems and there are an increasing number of traditional server, storage, network and software vendors offering a total integrated infrastructure experience to their end-users.

As competition is becoming fierce and with customers looking to safeguard their IT infrastructure from unexpected circumstances, vendors are under pressure to offer solutions that are secure, tightly in sync and readily available to match up to corporate demands. IDC expects the systems infrastructure market to expand at 11% in 2013 with security software to experience the highest growth.

10. Big Data and Analytics will expand from a low base as end users come to better understand benefits of adoption

Big Data has become a significant driver for global IT spending and is gradually becoming a normal subject of investment among business decision makers. Vendors have played a key role in creating awareness and a variety of industries – healthcare, financial services, government, logistics – have started to recognize its benefits.

Demand for analytics is growing among large business sectors, while awareness is also expanding across medium enterprises as analytics has become a driver for standardizing and managing database systems. Although this area is still nascent in Thailand, this will be the year where we see more case studies of successful usage in the market. In 2013, IDC expects the Information Management Analytics market to expand by 12% year-on-year.