Mobile economy to top $3 trillion more quickly than expected: Yankee Group

iPhone 5C

The iPhone 5C

The mobile economyis growingat a faster rate than previously expected while also showing signs of maturity, meaning there is still significant upside potential for companies in core sectors even as challenges multiply, according to a new report from Yankee Group.

The mobile economy will be valued at $3.1 trillion by 2017, which is $200 million more than Yankee Group forecasted in Oct. 2012. The quick ramp up will ensure that mobile remains the preeminent driver of technology growth for the foreseeable future, meaning all companies will need to adapt and embrace the opportunity or risk getting left behind.

It’s important to look at a healthy cross-section of trends and metrics to really understand that we are still on the on-ramp of the mobility revolution, said Rich Karpinski, senior analyst at Yankee Group, Boston, and co-author of the report.

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There is plenty of room for opportunity and growth, even as some markets, for instance, the U.S. mobile operator market reaching 50 percent cross-over point for data revenues, reach relative maturity, he said.

Mobile stalwarts
The mobile industry is moving into a more mature stage where exponential growth will turn to slower, steadier progress.

Yankee Group expects companies in each of the core sectors of mobile to face significant challenges as mobile gets bigger.

It will become evident which companies are the mobile stalwarts and which ones flashes-in-the-pan.

Two key opportunities going forward are smartphone apps and mobile payments.

Even though large screen devices get all the attention these days, smaller screens, driven by the iPhone, still dominate, Mr. Karpinski said. That has an impact on app and HTML Web design.

Mobile payments attract a lot of interest, but minuscule usage, he said. We’d argue that’s more of an opportunity than a problem.”

The mainstream
The report, “Mobile Metrics That Matter: Growing the New Mobile Economy,” found that the mobile devices and mobile commerce sectors are growing more quickly than previously forecasted, with the size of the mobile device market now expected to reach $919 billion and mobile commerce $906 billion by 2017.

The growth rate will slow for the mobile broadband as well as apps and cloud markets.

The mobile broadband market continues to represent the largest sector of the new mobile economy in raw terms and is expected to reach $1.21 trillion by 2017.

While the mobile apps and cloud market will continue to see significant growth as well, it will be at a slightly lower level than previously forecasted, reaching $145 billion by 2017.

For marketers, the results suggest that mobile marketing is poised to enter the mainstream now that much of the infrastructure is in place.

The time is now for companies to put big bets down on mobile marketing and commerce, Mr. Karpinski said. The underlying infrastructure and technologies, such as smartphone and mobile data penetration, has passed the tipping point.

What’s needed now is to drive mobile marketing into the mainstream, standardize around best practices and be ready to tap into the next trend, which more than likely will be an even more location-, context- and personalized-driven take on mobile commerce, he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York

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