World’s mobile worker population to hit 1bn

22 Feb 2010

The number of people in the world today who can be counted as mobile workers is set to reach 1.2 billion by year’s end – almost a third of the world’s population – according to analysts.

The most significant gains will be in the emerging economies of Asia Pacific, where a strong economic recovery and new interest in unified communications will drive healthy growth in all aspects of mobility spending, according to IDC.

“Vast opportunities exist for bringing a variety of mobile technologies to the world’s workforce,” said Sean Ryan, research analyst for Mobile Enterprise Software at IDC.

“Outside the United States and Japan, where mobile worker population penetration has essentially peaked, there are large worker populations that are still growing.

“Underserved mobile workers across all regions stand to benefit from the reach and flexibility offered by mobile solutions. While some barriers to adoption will still have to be overcome, the potential market for mobility solutions is enormous,” Ryan said.

The country with the highest percentage of mobile workers

The US has the highest percentage of mobile workers in its workforce, with 72.2pc of the workforce mobile in 2008. The US will remain the most highly concentrated market for mobile workers with 75.5pc of the workforce, or 119.7 million workers, being mobile in 2013.

Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) represents the largest total number of mobile workers throughout the forecast, with 546.4 million mobile workers in 2008 growing to 734.5 million or 37.4pc of the total workforce in 2013. At the end of the forecast, 62pc of the world’s mobile workforce will be based in the Asia-Pacific region.

Western Europe’s mobile workforce will enjoy a healthy compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6pc over the forecast period to reach 129.5 million mobile workers (50.3pc of the workforce) in 2013, surpassing the total number of mobile workers in the US.

Japan’s mobile worker population will total 49.3 million in 2013, representing 74.5pc of its total workforce. Like the US, this is essentially the sustainable limit of Japan’s mobile worker penetration.

The rest of the world, which is comprised of Canada and the emerging market countries in Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa and Latin America, will see its mobile worker population grow to 153.2 million by 2013.

As with Asia-Pacific, the low penetration of mobile workers in the total workforce (13.5pc) signals significant growth potential in these markets.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Almost a third of the world’s population will be made up of mobile workers by the end of this year, IDC has forecasted

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years