Someone recently asked me on Quora when demand for mobile services will plateau. This was my answer.
This year we will reach 2 Bn active smartphones globally (Number of Smartphone Users Worldwide 2014-2019 | Statista). With many people using multiple devices, the real number of people with smartphones is probably more like 1.5 Bn. Considering we have a global population of 7.1 Bn and 4.6 Bn mobile phones (source same as above), we are still far away from a plateau.
In parallel with this, we still see growth in time spent on mobile devices. In the US it doubled from 2010 to 2015 to about 200 min per day and continues to grow. But most other countries are still far behind which means that it’s just a question of time before they catch up. Still, we are just talking about smartphones. Include all other connected devices, wearables and sensors and we are just at the beginning.
Even if we plateau in smartphone penetration and mobile usage, there will still be further growth as mobile services are now becoming critical to every aspect of our lives, e.g. health, transportation, finance, hobbies, shopping, entertainment and education. In a few years’ time, no one will categorize mobile as an industry anymore since everything is mobile.
We have now reached a point where mobile services are indispensable for people and businesses and this is the 4th mobile revolution (not to be confused with the 4th industrial revolution). For most businesses it means that mobility is becoming a core part of their business including products and services, processes and business model.
Previous mobile revolutions included:
- First – Mobile voice (1990-2000)
- Second – Texting and mobile web (2000-2008)
- Third – Apps and media (2009-2015)
The 4th mobile revolution will have an even bigger impact than previous on businesses, governments and our everyday lives. Every space of society will be impacted and potentially disrupted including for example:
- Connected homes, gadgets, clothes and other wearables
- Connected factories, logistics and workplace
- Smart cities and government
- Connected transportation including self-driving cars
- Mobile health, sports and education
- Mobile money and banking
Magnus Jern, President DMI International