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We knew spending on mobility hardware, software and services was big. Now we know just how big.

That’s thanks to IDC, which has just come out with its latest figures on mobility spending. The market watcher says worldwide mobility spending this year will total $1.58 trillion. That’s a lot of phones and service! It also represents a forecast increase of about 4% over total spending last year.

Looking further ahead, IDC predicts total worldwide spending on mobility will have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 3% through 2021.

The United States will account for nearly 25% of that, IDC says, making it the largest geo market worldwide. Number two should be mainland China, followed by Japan, Brazil and the U.K.

Consumers lead

Not all the news is so rosy. Consumers, not businesses, will lead the way, accounting for more than 70% of total worldwide spending over the next 4 years, IDC expects. Most of this will be spent on smartphones and mobile-connectivity services.

Within the business verticals, the biggest spenders on mobility will be professional services, forecast by IDC to have a 5-year CAGR of 7.5%. It will be followed by construction (7.1% CAGR through 2021) and telecom (7.0% CAGR).

Four other industries are forecast by IDC to grow nearly as fast (6.9% CAGR). They are governments, healthcare, retail and security/investment services.

Small biz, big growth

There is some good news for tech providers catering to the SMB sector. IDC believes that small companies — those with just 1 to 9 employees — will account for nearly 75% of all mobility spending by businesses worldwide through 2021.

These very small businesses will be replacing traditional IT solutions with mobile devices and connectivity/mobility services, IDC says. Why? Because mobility is simply more affordable.

By devices, forecasts made earlier this month by Gartner point to equally fast growth for smartphones. Mobile phone shipments worldwide will increase next year, the research and advisory firm predicts, reaching 1.9 billion units. Of these, smartphones should account for 86% next year, which is 6% higher than what’s expected this year.

Mobility is a rising tide. Has your boat been lifted?


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