Total ICT (information and communications technology) spending by Qatar's "commercial sector" is projected to increase to nearly $2.8bn by 2019, shows a new report by the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
The total ICT spending by the country's commercial sector stood at $1.9bn in 2015, according to "Qatar's ICT Landscape 2016: Business".
For more than a decade now, Qatar's investments in state-of-the art ICT infrastructure, skills development and e-government have created a positive impact on all sectors in the state.
In 2014, the total revenue generated by the ICT providers in Qatar was estimated to be close to QR9bn, reflecting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.4% for the period 2012-2014.
In addition, ICT investments are transforming businesses of all kinds. ICT has improved the quality of products and services, provided access to new geographic markets, allowed better customer relationship management and provided access to better quality raw materials and services.
The report shows that 83% of establishments who were surveyed believe their businesses have benefited from ICT, with nearly half saying that ICT helps them access customers in new geographies and expand their potential market.
Improved quality of products and services was cited as a key benefit by 37% of surveyed businesses, followed by faster delivery (30%) and better customer relationship management (23%).
In addition, following the worldwide trend, the ICT industry is helping to fuel the growth and diversification of Qatar's economy. While the ICT industry in Qatar is still mainly import dependent, all leading ICT products and services are currently available in Qatar, mainly through resellers and service providers.
The ICT enterprises (close to 550 estimated to be operating in Qatar) have largely benefited from ICT-related government projects and view the government as a key driver in the future growth of the sector.
A total of 83% of the ICT enterprises in Qatar reported having worked with government organizations at least once between 2012 and 2014, and about one-quarter reported working on more than 10 government projects. Moving forward, the economic growth of Qatar (27%) and the increasing use of IT solutions in all industries (25%) were cited by the ICT industries interviewed as the top two drivers of ICT industry expansion in Qatar.
In addition, nearly 40% of the ICT enterprises also reported that government initiatives, the FIFA World Cup and the Qatar National Vision 2030 also played a critical role in driving the ICT market.
These and other findings are part of this broad-based research study that examines the current levels of ICT access and usage among businesses in Qatar and measures the development of the ICT sector.
The study, based on a survey of some 1,093 business establishments spread across industry sectors, was conducted between March 2015 and May 2015. In addition, in-depth, face-to-face interviews were conducted with 300 ICT providers during that same period.
The report estimates that in Qatar there are 44,439 business establishments (excluding specific government bodies) employing 1,233,110 people.
Overall, a review of the ICT landscape showed that since 2010, Internet penetration had shown a steady increase and stood at 70% among business establishments in 2015, while computer penetration remained flat and was at 76% last year.
The web presence nearly doubled from 20% in 2010 to 39% in 2015; however, it has remained relatively flat since 2012.