Tech Industry - Annual Business Survey 2017/2018

In late December 2017, SGTech conducted its annual Business Survey to gather the view and feedback from the Tech industry.

The goals of the survey are: 
  • To understand Tech Industry business performance in Y2017 and associated business challenges
  • To gauge Tech industry business sentiments for Y2018 and understand possible drivers of business growth
  • To understand importance of domestic opportunities versus offshore opportunities and understand which programmes are important to Tech businesses
  • To understand business priorities in tech adoption
This deck of survey results were analysed from 164 responses received.

Executive Summary

Y2017 was a better year than Y2016 for Tech businesses, in terms of annual sales turnover.  The risks associated with BREXIT, new US administration, rise of potential protectionism did not impact as much as projected. Y2017 revenues turned out better versus Y2016.

Despite the better revenues, Tech businesses reported a more subdued net profit growth versus Y2016. In particular, business performance for SMEs reflected signs of challenges. Despite a good year reported for Y2017, 3 in 10 SMEs had no growth or negative growth for revenues. 4 in 10 of SMEs had no growth or negative growth in net profit. Businesses faced challenges in getting technical talent, a saturated domestic market and in improving their businesses to be more effective.

Looking ahead, Tech businesses are overall optimistic in sentiments for Y2018. Top concerns for businesses are talent/manpower issues, disruption and changes in government policy.

A large majority of businesses perceive that both domestic and international opportunities are important to their businesses.  For domestic opportunities, domestic market, government grants and funding, government procurement and industry transformation programmes are important to their businesses.

For opportunities outside of Singapore, majority of Tech businesses agree that it is important. About 1 in 2 SMEs are interested in trips with SGTech members who are already established overseas. Internationalisation programmes that impact market opportunities are perceived to have more impact than trade agreements. ASEAN5 and Asia are top of mind international markets for businesses.

Given the dynamic nature of Tech industry, it is not surprising that 9 in 10 Tech businesses invested in some form of technology in Y2017. Data Analytics, AI and Cybersecurity are top planned investments in Y2018.  AI, Machine learning and Blockchain are moving up in Tech investment radar in Y2018.

Costs, manpower constraints and knowledge gaps are top challenges in tech adoption for businesses. For SMEs, availability of manpower with right capabilities to enable tech adoption is the key challenge. Assistance in channelling manpower resources (including training) and funding will help in tech adoption.

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