Worldwide Spending on Mobile Solutions to Pass $1.6 Trillion in 2018, IDC Says

Worldwide spending on mobility solutions is forecast to grow 3.2 percent year-over-year in 2018, reaching more than $1.6 trillion, according to a new Worldwide Semiannual Mobility Spending Guide from International Data Corporation (IDC).

This growth is expected to continue through 2021 with spending on mobility-related hardware, software, and services surpassing $1.7 trillion as the market achieves a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.8 percent.

"The new mobility use cases and technology adoption in enterprises is driving growth in all three facets of the market, from devices to software and services," said Phil Hochmuth, program director, Enterprise Mobility. "As device capabilities continue to evolve with augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI), and with 5G networks on the near horizon, technology choices for mobile technology buyers will become increasingly complex and critical to business success."

Mobility services will be the largest technology category throughout the 2016-2021 forecast period, accounting for nearly 60 percent of overall mobility spending and surpassing $1 trillion in 2021. The category is dominated by mobile connectivity services, which will deliver more than 90 percent of all mobility services spending.

However, enterprise mobility services, which are focused on the planning, implementation, operation, and maintenance and support of mobile strategies, applications, and devices or the final consumption of services through a mobile device, will see notable spending growth with a five-year CAGR of 15 percent.

Hardware will be the second largest technology category with spending forecast to reach nearly $675 billion in 2021. Smartphones will account for roughly 75 percent of all hardware spending throughout the forecast as consumers upgrade and refresh their mobile phones and enterprises equip their workforce with handheld devices that can run mobile apps and communicate in real time.

While notebooks will see modest spending growth (1.5 percent CAGR) throughout the forecast, tablets are expected to experience a decline (-1.9 percent CAGR).

Despite being the smallest technology category, software will see strong spending growth (14.7% CAGR) over the five-year forecast. Mobile enterprise applications will be the largest segment of mobile software spending, growing to $7.1 billion in 2021. Businesses will also increase their development efforts with mobile application development platforms experiencing a five-year CAGR of 19.5%.

However, all four software segments, including mobile enterprise security and enterprise mobility management, are forecast to deliver double-digit five-year CAGRs. Consumers will provide more than 70 percent of total mobility spending throughout the forecast with most of this spending – more than $1 trillion per year – going toward mobile connectivity services and smartphones combined. Consumer spending is also forecast to slow considerably starting in 2019 when annual growth rates dip below 1 percent, contributing to a five-year CAGR of 1.6 percent.

The industry that will see the largest spending on mobility solutions in 2018 (nearly $45 billion) is professional services, followed by banking ($43 billion), discrete manufacturing ($38 billion), and retail ($32 billion).

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In all four cases, a majority of the spending will go to mobile connectivity services and devices, primarily smartphones and notebook PCs. Enterprise mobility services will also be a significant spending category as these industries implement and execute their mobile strategies.

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