Mobility is one of IDC’s 3rd Platform Pillars: an IT market that has disrupted traditional business processes and continues to create transformative opportunities for vendors eager to engage a wider set of customers. According to IDC’s new Worldwide Semiannual Mobility Spending Guide, enterprise and consumer spending on mobile devices, software, and services will have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.7% from $1.66 trillion in 2015 to $1.85 trillion by 2019. The new spending guide expands on IDC’s previous mobility forecasts by offering greater detail on industry and geographic spending levels.

While the holistic mobility market may seem mature, organizations across industries are leveraging a deeper set of capabilities to further transform their businesses, driven by heightened IT acumen from the consumer mobility market. Mobility may have started with the simple concept of shifting employees from being deskbound to being mobile, but it has advanced and evolved to the point where many organizations are now embracing capabilities unique to both mobility and their industries.

  • Changing industry compliance requirements, government healthcare mandates in the U.S., and the need for specialized devices, software, and secure storage will drive healthcare providers to be the leading growth industry for mobility. IDC forecasts that global healthcare firms will spend more than $30 billion on mobility solutions by 2019, representing a four-year CAGR of 7.2%.
  • As federal/central governments embrace Digital Transformation (DX), a strong component will be articulated through the adoption of mobile IT. Mobility spending by global governments will have a CAGR of 5.7% over the forecast period to $30.6 billion.
  • Retailing has already benefited from the consumer embrace of mCommerce, yet IDC believes retail will continue to be a strong growth opportunity, particularly in emerging markets, with a CAGR of 5.6%. The ability to link supply chains to customer-facing ordering capabilities, increasingly deployed in a mobile-first context, will drive consistent profitability for a wider set of smaller, more specialized retailers as they look to be competitive with mass merchant firms eager to modernize their in-store infrastructures.

From a company size perspective, IDC expects small offices with 1 to 9 employees to represent the strongest share of global mobility spending, as the 70-plus million small businesses either deepen their capabilities with industry-specific mobile apps, or start-ups in emerging markets develop their own mobile-first organizations with devices and basic services.

“While mobile device ownership and general app uptake has already impacted consumers and businesses large and small, utilizing mobile capabilities to drive wholesale digital transformation in personal and professional spaces continues to represent a growth opportunity for vendors and channel partners,” said Chris Chute, Vice President, Customer Insights and Analysis Group.

From a regional perspective, software spending growth will be fastest in Asia/Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa. At the same time, service spending will be the largest category overall with 2019 spending reaching $332 billion in Asia/Pacific and $249 billion in the U.S. hardware spending will be largest in Asia/Pacific, the U.S., and Western Europe, with these three regions accounting for 71% of the $688.7 billion in 2019 global device spending. Meanwhile, the fastest growth in hardware spending will be in Central and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East and Africa.

“Today, mobility is more than just smartphones and apps, it is the lynchpin in driving new consumer behaviors, the future of work, and the digital transformation we are witnessing in real-time,” said Carrie MacGillivray, Vice President, Mobile & IoT. “IDC’s holistic view of the mobility spend opportunity encompasses the consumer and business potential across software, hardware, services and connectivity.”

IDC’s Worldwide Semiannual Mobility Spending Guide is designed to address the needs of technology organizations assessing the mobile opportunity by country, industry, and company size perspective. The spending guide provides subscribers with spending data on seven technologies across 19 industries, four company size bands, and 53 countries. Unlike any other research in the industry, the comprehensive spending guide can help IT decision makers to clearly understand the industry-specific scope and direction of mobility spending today and over the next five years.

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