- Mobile subscriptions will exceed 5.5 billion by 2022, or about double the number from 2008, according to an estimate by Forrester Research. Lower-cost smartphones will help to drive the most rapid growth in the Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America.
- Smartphones will make up more than 90% of total mobile subscriptions in the next five years. India remains the fastest-growing market for smartphone subscribers, followed by Vietnam and Nigeria. While 1.2 billion people used feature phones last year, their number will dwindle to 433 million by 2020, Forrester said.
- Android this year will maintain its dominance in mobile operating systems with more than 74% market share, powered by low-cost smartphone manufacturers in China. Apple's market share will be 21%, followed by Windows Phone's 4%. Microsoft is working on a new phone based on Windows, but hasn't yet set a launch date.
Nearly 70% of all digital media consumption is on a mobile device — and that number is only growing, according to a comScore report released in March. Though not terribly surprising, this figure simply reiterates mobile's surging dominance and the need for marketers to sharpen strategies with the channel in order to connect with the broadest possible consumer base. As developed markets in North America, Asia and Europe reach saturation for smartphones, the fastest growth will continue to be in emerging areas. That growth will likely create opportunities for social media networks and app developers to extend their reach deeper into a burgeoning consumer base.
The growth in smartphone usage underpins the global mobile ad market. Ad spending on mobile will nearly double to $155 billion in 2019 from $79 billion in 2016, according to an estimate released last month by Publicis' Zenith. The share of ad spending allocated to mobile media will grow to 26% in 2019 from 15% last year, per Zenith.
China and India are showing characteristics first seen in developed markets: a shift toward larger-screen smartphones that are cannibalizing sales for tablets. Sixty-five percent of smartphone owners in China and 62% in India have a screen size between 5 and 6 inches — about the size of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and larger than the iPhone 7's 4.7-inch display. China's market for tablets has stalled at 6.4% of the population, while only 1.1% of people in India own a tablet. Forrester forecasts the tablet market will shrink from 615 million units last year to 579 million by 2022, unlike the booming smartphone industry.