Consumers in SE Asia most upbeat for tech in their lives

Image courtesy of Minh Pham

Consumers in Southeast Asia are the most optimistic to embrace a digitally empowered future, and the most excited in the possibilities of digitalisation and benefits of new applications such as the Metaverse, according to the findings by VMware. 

However, the VMware Digital Frontiers 4.0 survey also indicates growing concerns over data privacy and security, widening gaps between the digitally-savvy versus more vulnerable parts of the society, and the expectations of the roles of organisations in working closely with consumers to realise tech-enabled benefits for the society.

Conducted in April 2022, the survey covered 9,728 consumers from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Korea, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy and France.

Paul Simos, VMware VP and managing director for Southeast Asia and Korea, said organisations must enable digital innovation with enterprise control by ensuring autonomy for developers, productivity for employees, and control for the business in order to drive growth. 

“As we enter the next decade of witnessing more disruptive innovations across industries and nations, businesses should exercise more caution in offering secure digital offerings to their end-users that are also seamless in operation,” said Simos.

More than three in every four (76%) respondents in Southeast Asia believe technology has been an enabler rather than an impediment to people during the COVID-19 pandemic — 4% higher than the global average. 

Southeast Asia leads as a region in Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) with 77% of the consumers here acknowledging the progress from digitalisation in the form of new jobs and livelihoods as compared to last year, whilst Korea and Japan are at 66% and 48% respectively.

Consumers in Southeast Asia demonstrate the most excitement to embrace technology transformation with 51% indicating their readiness for robot-enabled healthcare and emergency, ahead of their global counterparts (42%). 

In Singapore, 67% of respondents believe technology can contribute to the digital progress of their country by creating new jobs and livelihoods, and 69% believe that technology is necessary to improve the well-being of citizens and society, above the regional average.

Among Singaporeans, 70% believe technology has been an enabler, rather than a hindrance, to people connecting in their community during the pandemic. They trust the government the most (50%) followed by educational institutions (46%) and any partnership between government and industry (37%). 

Also, Singaporeans lead the region with being the most comfortable (nearly 42%) for virtual medical consultations if it reduces waiting time, as opposed to waiting in a clinic to be seen by a doctor, and 27% are comfortable to be diagnosed by a powerful computer that can detect anomalies better than the human eye, the highest in the region.

A majority (53%) of Singaporeans expect their financial service providers to use technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to protect their data and funds, and 23% believe Metaverse will be good for society in the future. 

The biggest fear of technology for Singaporeans is loss of data through malicious means (24%), followed by loss of privacy due to too much access of personal data given to organisations (23%).