Global mobile content spend to hit USD138.2 billion this year

Apps expected to play a key role

Spend on mobile content, including apps and services, will top USD138.2 billion this year, according to new research from Strategy Analytics (SA), as consumers continue to adopt smartphones and tablets for online browsing, commerce and entertainment, reports StrategyEye. The figure is up 13.4% year on year from the USD121.8 billion total consumer spend recorded in 2011, as the mobile economy continues to develop at a rapid pace. This growth is also fostered by mobile ad spend, which SA forecasts will almost double this year to total USD11.6 billion, from USD6.3 billion in 2011, bringing total mobile content revenues to just less than USD150 billion, a 17% year-on-year rise. The stats are indicative of the rapidly emerging mobile ecosystem as the popularity of connected devices continues to rise.

The majority of mobile content spend is on data plans and mobile internet, according to SA, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of spend. The research firm asserts that this will net mobile operators USD82.8 billion in 2012, though this is still below the heights of once-lucrative SMS messaging revenues. Separate Ovum stats claim that mobile data revenues will top USD419 billion by 2016, though the figure still comprises less than half of overall USD1,047 billion revenues from mobile services that Ovum forecasts for 2016.

Apps are expected to play a key role in the growth of both consumer spend and mobile data usage, and SA forecasts that 32 billion apps will be downloaded worldwide this year, up 38% on the 23 billion downloaded last year. Consumers will spend some USD26.1 billion on mobile apps this year, accounting for 18.9% of total spend, according to SA.

Mobile and video also have significant roles to play in consumer mobile habits; however, the revenue both contribute is still relatively small. SA claims that while ringtones revenues decline, streaming services such as Spotify are contributing more, helping music services to generate USD16 billion in 2012, accounting for 11.6% of total spend. While videos remain a popular mode of media consumption on mobile, with 108 billion videos viewed in 2011 and 280 billion expected to be consumed this year, they are only expected to contribute USD2.84 billion to overall consumer spend, representing 2.4%.

While the research firm predicts a significant rise in mobile ad spend this year, recent research suggests that the nascent market still has work to do to become a dominant ad industry, despite the explosive growth in mobile in recent months. Recent research from Flurry claims that mobile accounts for just 1% of brands’ ad spend despite the platform accounting for nearly a quarter of consumers’ media usage. However, eMarketer still estimates that mobile ad spend topped USD1.45 billion, a figure that will rise to USD2.61bn this year.

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