Worldwide mobility revenues will reach $1.57 trillion in 2017, an increase of 2.6% over 2016, according to a new update to the Worldwide Semiannual Mobility Spending Guide from International Data Corporation (IDC). Purchases of mobile hardware, software, and services is expected to continue apace over the next several years, achieving a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.1% over the 2015-2020 forecast period and reaching $1.67 trillion in 2020.
Connectivity services will represent the largest category of mobility spending in 2017 followed by consumer and enterprise purchases of phones, tablets, and portable PCs. Combined, connectivity and hardware will deliver more than 95% of all mobility revenues this year with roughly two thirds coming from the consumer market. Most of the remaining revenues will come from enterprise purchases of mobility services, applications, application development platforms, and security. Although hardware and services dominate mobility spending overall, applications and application development platforms represent the fastest growing areas of mobility with five-year CAGRs of 17.3% and 20.3% respectively.
Core end-user computing technology for enterprise workforces
"Mobility has moved from niche and novelty usage in business to a core end-user computing technology for enterprise workforces," said Phil Hochmuth, program director, Enterprise Mobility at IDC. "While devices and apps transform how workers do their jobs, mobile app platforms and services create entire new business models and customer interaction opportunities. To take advantage of all this, enterprise IT buyers must know the relationships, dependencies, and requirements of all aspects of mobile computing, from hardware and devices, to management and development platforms, security, and services."
Banking, discrete manufacturing, and professional services will be the three commercial industries making the largest mobility investments in 2017 ($166.3 billion combined) and throughout the forecast period. All three industries will make significant investments in application development platforms, applications, and the enterprise mobility services that support the planning, development, and final consumption of services through a mobile device. The telecommunications industry will deliver the fastest spending growth over the 2015-2020 forecast period (4.2% CAGR), followed by process manufacturing, healthcare providers, and construction. Consumer mobility spending is forecast to deliver a CAGR of 2.5%.
"The top three commercial industries for spending – banking, discrete manufacturing, and professional services – each exemplify key drivers of mobile technologies in action," said Jessica Goepfert, program director, Customer Insights and Analysis. "Banking customers are increasingly reliant on their mobile devices for managing all aspects of their lives and are demanding innovative and secure mobile experiences from their financial institutions. Discrete manufacturers are under constant pressure to improve margins – and mobile technologies can help make workers more productive and effective. Lastly, mobile solutions among professional services firms are viewed as a critical means to help manage the industries inherent volatility by bringing a disparate and on-the-go workforce access to information and applications while they are at the office, at a client's site, at a hotel, at home, or anywhere in between."
Affordable alternative to traditional IT solutions
From a company size perspective, small offices with 1 to 9 employees will deliver the largest share of global mobility revenues, as these businesses purchase mobile devices, connectivity services, and mobility services as an affordable alternative to traditional IT solutions. Small offices will also deliver the fastest spending growth with a five-year CAGR of 2.6%. Large and very large businesses (more than 500 employees) will invest more than $2.7 billion this year in mobile application development platforms and mobile applications as they seek to enhance worker productivity and provide new capabilities to customers and partners.
From a regional perspective, Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), led by strong investments in China, will be the largest overall mobility market in terms of revenues, which are forecast to exceed $500 billion in 2018. The United States represents the second largest region, followed by Western Europe. Latin American is forecast to deliver the fastest revenue growth (4.1% CAGR) while Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) and the Middle East and Africa (MEA) will also see revenue growth greater than the overall market.