ASIC design is conservative. It leaves immense opportunity to improve and to get faster to market. Unfortunately none of the big ASIC companies implement those improvements. It gives startups a chance to beat the big ones to the market. While Perl was indeed handy, Python started to get traction around the year 2000. Around that time, I stopped using Perl and switched to Python for scripting. I still use shell scripting as well but I never use Perl anymore. I will explain why. Perl has a certain syntax and is different from any language a HDL designer uses. Python is more software like, if I write C/C++, systemverilog or VHDL, Python is more in line with those languages than Perl. And today, Python has so many uses, has so many packages for the most interesting things, that I would always choose Python over Perl. I am located in the EU so this is mainly what I observe in the EU. In the US, Perl is still widely used in digital IC design. Before systemverilog, Python was used as a cosim environment because of the ease of parsing input files and applying whatever algorithm on it. Maybe not widespread but it was quite powerful.