Forrester’s team of Asia Pacific (AP) analysts released our top 10 predictions for the Asia Pacific tech market in 2014 this week. The most critical overarching trend for the region in 2014 will be the strengthening age of the customer, which we define as a 20-year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers.

The age of the customer will manifest itself in AP through 10 major trends that will fundamentally alter or disrupt regional tech markets in 2014. Here’s a preview of five of them:

  • Technology spending will remain flat. Forrester expects IT spending growth in AP to remain flat in 2014, with regionwide growth of 4%; the regional growth rate rises to 6% if we exclude Japan. We see China rebounding and generating healthy growth, but expect that local vendors will see more benefit than multinational brands. India is expected to rebound as well, in spite of an election in the first half of the year; once that’s over, we expect pent-up demand to be released. More details are offered in my colleague Fred Giron’s blog post.
  • CIOs’ IT spending will decline as the clout of the business grows. We’ve been writing about the growing clout of business buyers for more than a year now. But with continued business gains, we are now seeing CIO spending decline as business leaders and workforces take over more IT strategy and spending decisions. We expect to see this shift in spending power continue out to 2016 at a minimum.
  • The Internet of Things will get personal. Growth in the Internet of Things (IoT) has primarily been driven by enterprise and government organizations in the form of smart meters, smart roads, and sensor networks in buildings, on trains, in hospitals, and in factories. In 2014, the IoT will get personal. Sensors will help people get fitter, control their car, find their keys, unlock their house, monitor the ambient temperature, turn lights on and off, control toys, monitor electricity usage, control their air conditioner, and monitor their solar energy generation, among many others.
  • Customer experience will surge as a CIO priority. In 2014, we expect CIO focus on the customer experience to drive very rapid spending growth in this area, driven by firms seeking to differentiate themselves from their competitors by offering a superior customer experience. However, as more and more firms adopt this strategy, consumers will expect all of the companies they engage with to provide a high-quality customer experience.
  • The number of online buyers in China will exceed the entire US population. The number of online buyers in China alone will reach 356 million in 2014 — surpassing the entire US population — and China’s online buyers will spend $356 billion in 2014, an amount larger than the nominal GDP of Malaysia or Singapore. Of course, this is just one component of the regional opportunity, which is growing quickly. The scale and growth of online markets in the region will present important new opportunities and challenges in 2014.

Fred Giron and I will be sharing more details on Forrester’s Asia Pacific 2014 predictions during a complimentary webinar on November 26. We’d love to have you be part of the discussion; please register to join us and share your perspectives.