, Singapore

SME software spending increases exponentially by 324% in 2020

SMEs also spent more on organisational growth tools and employee salaries last year.

Singapore small and medium enterprises (SMEs) spent 324% more on information technology and computer software, according to the preliminary results of a study by the business management platform provider, Sleek.

Purchases mainly consisted of video conferencing subscriptions, technology upgrades, and new digital equipment.

SMEs also spent 24% more year-on-year on employee salaries last year, demonstrating a strong employee retention rate.

Still, its preference to hire consultants instead of full-time employees during the period of flip-flopping restrictions led to a 16% increase in consulting.

SMEs in the food and beverage, arts, and entertainment sectors had the highest increase in salary spending, by 80% year-on-year, in 2020, having experienced a boom in the third quarter when businesses were reopened and subsidies were doled out.

Salaries in the e-commerce sector saw a 30% increase, driven by consumer demand in the third and fourth quarters. Top expenditure increases from the sector also include advertising, freight, courier, and handling.

Meanwhile, salary spending dropped by 30% in the construction and real estate industry, likely due to retrenchment when construction restrictions were implemented.

Sleek is set to publish its full report on SME spending, based on its analysis of over 1,000 Singaporean SMEs, by the end of August.

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