Overall spending on ICT in Saudi Arabia is set to reach $32.9 billion this year, up 1.5% on 2020. That’s according to the latest predictions revealed by IDC as it hosted the region’s most influential ICT industry figures online for the virtual edition of IDC Directions Middle East, Turkey & Africa.
Speaking at the event, the firm’s regional director for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, Hamza Naqshbandi, announced that spending on IT in the Kingdom will reach $11.1 billion in 2021, with services and devices accounting form more than half of the market. He said that IT spending in the country (including mobile devices, storage, hardware, systems, and software) will grow 4.2% year on year, with the government, finance, and communications sectors to spend in excess of $3.6 billion on IT in 2021.
“IDC expects that emerging technologies will continue to play a critical role in the post-pandemic digital economy as business and IT leaders in Saudi Arabia look ahead to 2021 and the new normal,” said Naqshbandi. “Saudi Arabia’s vision for a smart economy relies heavily on digital transformation initiatives, an area the government has always focused on and heavily invested in long before COVID-19. The ongoing pandemic has validated the country’s strategic direction, acting as a catalyst to spur the adoption of emerging technologies.”
The online event hosted more than 1,000 senior executives from the region’s most influential technology vendors, telecommunications operators, and IT service providers. It offered an unrivaled immersive experience for participants as they seamlessly engaged in content-rich presentations and panel discussions, connected with exhibitors via video chat, and interacted key industry players in designated networking zones. Expert speakers explored the latest trends in cloud, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, the Internet of Things, and intelligent automation, to name just a few.
Providing a unique opportunity to interact with IDC’s industry-leading analysts, the event included a session titled ‘The Next Phase of Saudi Arabia’s Digital Aspirations: Opportunities and Considerations.” This dedicated session provided senior ICT industry executives with in-depth analysis of the latest trends and developments shaping the Saudi ICT market, helping them to identify key sectors, segments, and geographies to target in the coming years.
Accompanied by the very latest forecasts and predictions, discussions focused on the impact of disruptive technologies on the Saudi market and contextualized the impact of the new normal on the local ICT environment. IDC experts highlighted that the public sector will remain the Kingdom’s largest in terms of ICT spending through 2024, followed by finance and communications, with education and healthcare expected to be the fastest growing sectors over that period.
The agenda also included a panel discussion examining the role of emerging technologies in realising the next phase of Saudi Arabia’s digital transformation journey. Chaired by IDC’s Hamza Naqshbandi, the panelists included: Eng. Abdullah AlQahtani, general manager for digital transformation at Yesser; Dr. Noha Ahmed Al-Harthi, technology lead at NEOM; and Sultan AbuKoshaim, CIO and governor advisor at SASO.