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.
Hardware and software advisor for tech startups. ASIC, FPGA, RPi, Arduino, AI, robots, drones, blockchain, Machine learning, vision processing, IoT and 3D printers are my fields of expertise.