Mobile Worker Trends Show Strong Growth, Wider Choices, Studies Say

2012 will mark the first year that 3G and 4G mobile devices make up the majority of all worldwide smartphone sales, topping 50% for the first time ever, according to ABI Research.  Meanwhile, IDC predicts the worldwide mobile worker population is exploding, and will impact more than 1-in-3 users (1.3 billion) by 2015.

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wwmobileworkers2012 will mark the first year that 3G and 4G mobile devices make up the majority of all worldwide smartphone sales, topping 50% for the first time ever, according to ABI Research.  The shift follows aggressive promotions and other moves by top vendors to make 3G/4G the first choice among consumers, the firm added.

Meanwhile, IDC noted the growth in mobile worker population worldwide continues to skyrocket, estimating it will reach 1.3 billion by 2015 – or a whopping 37.2% of the total workforce, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). IDN takes a look at both studies.

ABI Research -  Sales of handsets worldwide is set to increase by 8%, netting 1.67 billion handsets will have shipped by the end of 2012, according to Jake Saunders, vice president of forecasting, ABI Research.  At the end of 2011, some 228 million handsets had been shipped in North America, up 14% year-over-year—the highest year-over-year growth in more than five years.

“North America may only represent 15% of feature and smartphone units shipped globally, but due to the high proportion of high-end smartphone sales, it constitutes 40% of total smartphones sold by value,” said Kevin Burden, ABI Research’s vice president and practice director, mobile devices. “It underscores what is at stake in the patent battles between Apple, Samsung, Motorola, Google, HTC, Microsoft, and even British Telecom.”

IDC - The IDC mobility study found the increase in the number of mobile workers will be particularly strong in the Asia/Pacific region because of the strong economic growth in the region, according to IDC. However, growth in the Americas will be slower growth because of the sluggish economy and high unemployment rates.

“Despite recent market turmoil, mobility continues to be a critical part of the global workforce and we expect to see healthy growth in the number of mobile workers”
“Despite recent market turmoil, mobility continues to be a critical part of the global workforce and we expect to see healthy growth in the number of mobile workers,” said Stacy Crook, senior research analyst for IDC’s Mobile Enterprise Research program, in a statement. “Our forecast shows that the worldwide mobile worker population will increase from just over 1 billion in 2010 to more than 1.3 billion by 2015.”

Other key IDC findings of the report include:

  • The number of mobile workers in the Americas including the United States, Canada, and Latin America, will grow from 182.5 million in 2010 to 212.1 million in 2015. The largest number of mobile workers in this region are in North America, which had 75% of the workforce mobile in 2010.
  • The largest increase in the number of mobile workers will be in the Asia/Pacific region (excluding Japan), with 601.7 million mobile workers in 2010 and 838.7 million in 2015. The sizes of China and India, combined with strong economic expansion in both countries, is the reason for this prediction.
  • The mobile workforce in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) will see a healthy compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6% as it expands from 186.2 million in 2010 to 244.6 million mobile workers in 2015.
  • Japan will see a declining CAGR of 0.2% because of the decrease in its population. However, the share of mobile workers will reach a penetration rate of 64.8% of its workforce by 2015, for a total of 38.6 million mobile workers.


The IDC study, Worldwide Mobile Worker Population 2011-2015 Forecast provides a worldwide five-year mobile worker population forecast through 2015 and analysis across three major worker categories and 13 subcategories in four regions and two countries: The Americas, United States, Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), Japan and EMEA.

This growth is not going unnoticed by vendors, ABI Research added, as international markets continue to attract attention from mobile vendors.

Samsung has been encroaching into the emerging country smartphone market. Also Apple is enjoying success in Indian and China, and expanding sales channels there, according to the report. Apple is also targeting South American markets such as Brazil.

Although HTC is doing well in China, it’s doing even better in North America and Europe. And even though RIM doesn’t have a lock on the markets for apps-capable smartphone, it is doing well in emerging markets where people are focused on messaging.  Nokia hopes to benefit from the launch of the Windows Phone 7 Lumia series launches in India and China.




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