Its that time again, as the new TomiAhonen Almanac has just been released, I am now doing my annual review or as my fellow mobile statistician, Chetan Sharma calls this, my annual ‘State of The Mobile’ blog like the US President does his State of the Union speech. Its all the top-line numbers for this rapidly-growing industry. Bookmark this page, you’ll come back to it many times in the next 12 months as mobile keeps becoming more vital in your industry as well.
THE BIG NUMBER IS 7.6 BEES
So lets start with the single number we all need and must understand. How many paying customers are there in this mobile industry. These are all RETURNING customers with monthly payments (whether paid by contract monthly after the fact, or pre-paying the mobile use beforehand). For comparison consider other industries with returning monthly customers. There are 1.8 Billion households on the planet but some are not in the coverage of electricity or water. So in round terms, lets say there are 1.5 Billion customers who have a home electricity and a water account. Far less than electricity would be those with gas delivered to the home or central heating from the city or sewage treatment. Into our homes we also get fixed landline phones but that industry has peaked and today only 1.0 Billion total fixed landlines are in use worldwide. How about cable TV? Well, the total number of all paid cable and satellite accounts (which includes some digital ‘freeview’ type counts too but lets keep this simple) is about 1.1 Billion globally. What about cars? There are 1.1 Billion automobiles registered and in use around the world who mostly need to pay for car insurance (not all have to, or do). What of the internet? 900 million have a traditional broadband (or still in some cases narrowband) based wired internet coming to their homes. Its just under half of all households on the planet. If you want recurrring monthly customers, excluding the financial sector (banking, credit cards and insurance) that is just about it. Cars, telephones, cable TV, home electricity and water. And then there is mobile.
When you take the total paying customers of electricity, water, cars, landline phones, cable and satellite TV, and home broadband internet - combined they come to 7.1 Billion accounts by mostly the same set of roughly the same 1 Billion ‘breadwinner’ household heads of those homes, very often the husband in a family. We in mobile have... 7.6 Billion total paying returning customers !!!!!!!!!!!!! More than electricity, water, cable TV, internet and cars - combined. And before you complain, wait, there are multiple accounts among mobile, and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) subscriptions which aren’t the same as unique humans, then I rejoin that argument with - so do the others. Many used to have two or more landline phones coming to their homes (now almost none do that anymore). Some have two cars registered to the same car-owner (while the car may actually be driven by the wife or some older children of driving age). Business accounts are common with cars (similar to M2M accounts in mobile) and many automobiles are registered to corporations with fleets of vehicles, etc.
7.6 Billion mobile accounts, active at the end of 2015. That compares to a global population of 7.3 Billion humans alive of any age. Thats a penetration rate of 104% per capita. Not per household like we measure most other consumer gadgets. Not a measure against adult population. Against the total population we are at 104% penetration rate and just growing and growing. Its as I promised in my forecast about ‘the next 4 Billion’ back in 2009 when the planet had passed 4 Billion mobile users. I said we’d get to 8 Billion and it looks like we’ll pass 8 Billion actual mobile accounts before this decade is done...
Yes mobile has again reached a new record - nothing comes even close to the total number of mobile phone total PAYING customers at 7.6 Billion. None of the industries I mentioned but not others either. There are more people with mobile phones than who wear wristwatches, more people use mobile phones than have bank accounts or credit cards. There are 800 million illiterate people on the planet who have no use for pencil and paper - they can’t read and write - yet they can use a mobile phone. Homeless people have mobile phones! A University of Sydney study in Australia last year found that 95% of the homeless in Australia have mobile phones (this is consistent with previous findings including the USA but there was no actual study of the matter before last year). We hear the stories of the human tragedy of the exodus out of war-torn Syria. What is the most important item all refugees bring along? Their mobile. There has never been a technology as widely-spread, as much used, and as highly valued as the mobile is today. 7.6 Billion total active mobile accounts worldwide. Thats the 'Big Number' to memorize but its literally only the starting point for the TomiAhonen Almanac 2016.
5 BILLION UNIQUE HUMAN MOBILE OWNERS
So in that number of 7.6 Billion we have human and non-human users. What do I mean non-human? Its various Machine-to-Machine M2M uses such as having your home electricity or water read by a remote-control gadget, which is connected via a cellular connection and thus has a ‘SIM card’ ie Subscriber Identity Module like most who use GSM phones around the world. (For non-American readers, yeah, the USA still doesn’t always use SIM cards and Americans tend to be pretty clueless about that side; their phones mostly still come locked to one carrier). There are lots of clever uses of mobile in for example the Internet of Things and in ‘smart cities’ to allow connectivity to various digital devices. One of my favorites is how farms in India use remote-control devices to turn on and off their irrigation - where water is a scarce resource. They can do that via sending SMS messages from the phone to the remote-control devices that turn on and off the irrigation system. So how many are M2M accounts? 400 million. So of the 7.6 Billion total mobile accounts, 7.2 Billion are used by humans and 400 million or 5% are already now used by machines. This M2M side is expected to see dramatic growth in the coming years.
How many of the 7.2 Billion are ‘unique’ humans. Many of us have two phones. Some have a mobile phone and another digital device connected to the 3G/4G network such as a laptop or tablet PC connected via an internal SIM card or via a USB-dongle that connects to the network, to give us high speed internet wirelessly, beyond WiFi coverage. And in all big pre-paid markets (most of the world) a significant part of the population have one phone but two or more accounts, and do the ‘SIM card Switch’ to alternate between carriers/networks to select their preferred network at any given time. It used to be that we could say the total count of mobile subscribers was equivalent to total number of handsets in use and equivalent to total mobile unique users. Not anymore. I was the first analyst to provide numbers on how those numbers have diverged. Now we have the latest numbers out of my Almanac for the total human unique users, which is 5.0 Billion. This number was verified by deep analysis of the recent vast international Pew survey of mobile ownership. Note this number is impossible by national operators/carriers to know from their own networks and even national regulators have no way of knowing exactly which customers on rival networks have multiple accounts across the competitors. So the Pew survey provided a rare and very valuable confirmation of the data and allows us to say very confidently that there are yes, 5.0 Billion unique humans who have and use (and pay for) at least one mobile account and have at least one mobile phone. 5.0 Billion unique human users is 68% of the planet’s total population alive, of any age from fresh-born babies to the frail old great-grandma who is now bedridden.
Note that roughly speaking 1 Billion of the planet’s population are so young they aren’t in school yet. So of people old enough to go to school, ie out of 6.3 Billion, we already reach 79% of the planet! Those remaining 1.3 Billion who are old enough to go to school but don’t have mobile phones tend to be very poor, so I also joke that we have reached ‘every economically viable’ person on the planet already - anyone who can afford ANY discretionary spending like buying a cup of tea or buying a newspaper. If you want to address any commercial product or service at all - mobile reaches literally every viable customer your service could ever hope to sell to. No other technology or media comes close. Not even close. Only mobile does that. There are vast areas of say India or Africa where there even is no FM Radio coverage, far less TV coverage (and are too poor to be served by say newspapers), and yet they have cellular mobile coverage and do get their first media content delivered in their lifetimes to their villages in their valleys.. via mobile. There are many villages without electricity - but the mobile users will send mobiles to neighboring villages to be charged - for example in Africa many areas encourage parents to send phones with kids to school to be charged - so the parents also make sure the kids do come to school - a poor farmer has a strong incentive to use the own children as cheap labor when harvesting time is important, but teachers want the kids in school of course..
5.0 Billion unique humans alive on the planet, 79% of all who are of school age and above, and 100% of the ‘economically viable’ part of the planet’s population - have mobiles today. Plus most homeless and most refugees and very often even kids down to prep school (90% of Finnish kids age 7 have mobile phones, most of those are smartphones).
But mobile REACH is even beyond that 5.0 Billion unique humans. In many very poor families, they have one (old, often used) mobile phone, which is SHARED among the family or even shared among some families or neighbors in a poor village. My TomiAhonen Almanac has a whole chapter on the ‘Digital Divide’ showing the differences of mobile (and other tech like TV, internet, landlines etc) between the affluent Industrialized World (often also called ‘The West’) vs what was once called the ‘Third World’ but which prefers to be called the ‘Emerging World’. Thats where 6.2 Billion people live, all of Latin America, all of Africa, and most of Asia including China, India and Indonesia. So in the very poor areas, one mobile phone (and one account) is often shared and has a reach larger than the number of total mobile phones. This is like how we measured the reach of landlines before, when they mattered (or how television or radio are measured for their audience which is larger than the number of ‘receivers’ as in ‘Television sets’ or ‘radios’). In the ‘West’ our teenagers have their own mobiles and all husbands and wives have their own mobiles. There is no need to consider ‘sharing’ a mobile in our worlds unless one happens to be broken or lost somehow, momentarily. But in Africa for example, its not unusual for poor rural areas to have shared phones within familes. My Almanac counts the total shared mobiles to be 230 million, which reach 1.1 Billion people. That adds 870 million more humans to the reach of mobile, so as a media and communication platform, mobile reaches a total of 5.9 Billion humans today (but when counting people old enough to be able to read, that is 5.4 Billion). 81% of the planet’s population is within reach of mobile and out of the age of people old enough to read and write (including those who are illiterate) ie school-aged humans or older, mobile reaches literally 86% of humankind old enough to comprehend any concept of life beyond the home and the immediate family ie to have any possible understanding of a ‘need’ to use electronic communication or media.
MOBILE USERS IN NUMBERS
Total Active Mobile Subscriptions (Accounts) including M2M . . . . . . . 7.6 B
Total Active Human-Use Mobile Subscriptions (Accounts) . . . . . . . . . 7.2 B
Total Mobile Reach, including shared mobiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.9 B
Total Unique Mobile Phone Human Users . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.0 B
Source: TomiAhonen Almanac 2016
This table may be freely shared
Thats where we are today, by 2016. 7.6 Billion total mobile accounts, active and paid for. 7.2 Billion of those are used by humans. There are 5.0 unique paying mobile account-holders (postpaid or prepaid) who then when poor areas are included with shared phones, give mobile a total aggregate reach of 5.9 Billion humans. These are astounding numbers (and they keep growing).
THE TRILLION NUMBER IS NOW 1.7T
So then the biggest of our huge numbers. The T Number from the T-Dawg. Where other industries dabble with mere millions or billions, we are one of the rare industries that can talk about our T-number. We make REVENUES that are counted now with a Trillion. The print industry is 500 years old. All newspapers, books, magazines combined - never became a Trillion-dollar industry. Recordings are a 130 year old industry (aka the ‘music’ industry) which never was even a 100 Billion dollar business. Radio is bigger than recordings but radio only is about 100 Billion in global revenues. Hollywood ie movies is just over 100 years of age, has peaked and it never was anything near a Trillion in value. Neither is its younger cousin, television which is near half a Trillion (500 Billion) in value. But yes, if you take TV, movies, radio and recordings - plus toss in also videogaming just for the fun of it. Then those would still be less than one Trillion dollars in their annual sales revenues globally. Advertising is not a Trillion dollars (its about half that). The PC industry is not a Trillion (about a half). The internet is nowhere near (its only about a quarter of a Trillion in value). So you understand, the big T is a rare thing. Cars are a Trillion-dollar industry. the military spending on weapons - thats a Trillion dollar industry. Food and housing - those are Trillion-dollar industries as is finance ie banking, credit cards etc.
Mobile was launched only 37 years ago, in 1979 in Japan (not by Motorola and Ameritech in Chicago in 1983. Even in Finland we had a cellular telecoms industry two years before that moment). But mobile breached the 1 Trillion dollar barrier in world-record time of only 29 years and yes, we again grew by 100 BILLION dollars last year, and this industry is now worth 1.7 Tees. One point SEVEN Trillions of dollars. 1,700 Billion dollars. 1.7 million-millions of dollars. Every year. Our industry makes 3 million dollars every single minute of every single hour of every single day of the year, weekends and holidays included.
There are only a few giant industries on the planet, whose size is so big, they alone account for a few percent of global GDP. Mobile is one of those. Any other digital tech industry you may be involved in, computers, internet, radio, TV, gaming, etc - are nowhere near our size. But mobile also set the world-record for fastest growth to breach that one Trillion dollar level. Mobile has literally been the fastest-growing giant industry on the planet. The fastest machine to make money. Read that again. Mobile has been the fastest machine to make money. As I say, Mobile is the Magical Money-Making Machine. Look at Bill Gates, he was the richest man on the planet out of the monopoly that Microsoft created for the PC industry. Pretty nice job if you can have IBM help create a monopoly for you haha. Smart guy. But who took his title? A mobilista! Carlos Slim of Mexico took over Bill Gates’s crown as the richest man on the planet, for several years. How did Bill get to return to the top? By refocusing Microsoft from the PC to mobile, of course (and firing that moron Steve Ballmer from ruining his company).
Don’t like an example about the Evil Empire? (neither do I, I hate Microsoft with a passion). Lets to to the anti-Microsoft. How about Apple? Apple was on the brink of bankruptcy two decades ago, literally. Only weeks from bankruptcy. Steve Jobs returned, saved his company, pivoted it to... mobile. And what happened? Apple set the world record for biggest profits ever by any business in the economic history of humankind. Driven by mobile. Also made Apple the most valuable company on the planet. Thats mobile for you. Google, barely profitable on the internet, decided a decade ago - literally, a decade ago - to pivot to mobile which it said would become the future of the internet. Yes, Google said this a decade ago. Today? They are a massively profitable MOBILE company who also have a side-business on the legacy PC based internet. What about Starbucks? The hugely successful coffee restaurant chain? Their CEO says the most important thing to their future is .. mobile. Starbucks became the planet’s largest mobile wallet provider simply out of their loyalty program built to use mobile payments.
Its not just that mobile is far bigger than the much older industries like computers, television and print - mobile broke the world-record for fastest growth into the Trillion-dollar stratosphere. This is literally the best way to make money on the planet today. It is literally the best way to make money. Any industry, any business, any government entity should use mobile from airlines issuing tickets to mobile to education and healthcare using mobile; to government such as voting - Estonia became the first country to have citizens vote via mobile phones - and taxes - Norway was first to let citizens file tax returns via SMS - to driver’s licences - UAE offered the first mobile phone based national driver’s licences two years ago. And the passport is already coming to a mobile near you. There has been nothing like mobile and we have only started. Wait until this industry really gets going... No technology has ever revolutionized so many other industries so thoroughly and nowhere near as fast, as mobile has now done. Not electricity, not the telegraph, not trains, not airplanes, not computers and not the internet. But mobile has done all that and we've only yet started. But the best volume to see where we are, the true full picture of mobile every year, any year, is the TomiAhonen Almanac now in its 2016 edition.
MAGICAL MONEY-MAKING MACHINE
The fastest-growing industry humankind has ever seen, which has created the most profitable companies and the richest people. Why are YOU not increasing your involvement in mobile? What on earth could be ‘more important’ to you now than mobile? Internet of Things (IoT)? Really? Internet of Things without mobile is just things. Oh, you want Big Data instead? Sure, and Big Data without mobile is just a big useless headache. Its like an airplane without wings. Sure it may be a nice metal tube to go sit in, but it will cost you a ton and it won’t get you anywhere from that airport. So you say ‘Cloud Computing’. Haha yeah, and what is it that gives it that cloudiness? You can’t wire a cloud. It has to be wireless. Cloud Computing without Mobile is nothing more than plain old computing. Smart Cities without Mobile is the very antithesis of Smart. Thats what we already have today: Dumb Cities. Oh, you are into smart watches? Good luck with your next bankruptcy. Mobile will be here when you are done. The Connected Car without mobile is a Disconnected Car. What about AR and VR? Sure, VR is good evolution for the tiny gaming industry if you are in gaming (so are smartphone apps too, if you prefer small numbers). AR however, that is currently driven by.. mobile. I was the first one to call AR the 8th Mass Media (where TV was 5th, internet as 6th and mobile was 7th mass media; print obviously was the first mass media).
Whatever you do in tech, you have to do mobile. And this article should point out to you, that whatever you are doing in mobile today - that is not enough. Your competitors are doing more than you are, and you have to increase your own involvement. Any other media needs mobile. Even classic old mobile-haters - Cinema - is now embracing mobile and starting to allow audiences to send messages and Tweets while the movie is playing. Why not? Its all about involvement and what is more crazy for a ‘mass media’ like cinema, than to prohibit the use of the most used communication tech on the planet. (And don’t write to me to bitch about it. How many times per month do YOU pay to see movies in the cinema? Go see the AGE of the audiences and then shut up. Its a youth media, they go to the movies on their DATES.. so if they want to text while in the movies, and you go once per year to see the next Star Wars, just shut up already. Cinema is not interested in your opinion, they have to appeal to the youth segment which is their primary audience). Soon movies will learn to TALK to audiences WHILE THE MOVIE PLAYS asking for participation.. It is coming soon, trust me. Just like how radio and TV ask us to send in our opinions (and votes) via mobile today.
Oh, while we are on the money topic. This is NOT about apps. Apps, schmapps. Apps are good for videogaming. And thats it. Anything else, its silly to do apps, do the mobile internet instead. Thats how most of your consumers want it anyway. Do a good mobile website instead, far cheaper and reaches far more users (did you know most dumbphones in use today have a full HTML browser. Yes, the internet has a far larger reach than Android or iOS app stores, even combined). So the big money? Premium SMS. Towers over apps. Even MMS yes Multimedia Messaging - is bigger than the total revenues of all app store apps sold to all smartphones worldwide (And most of that is GAMING). Don’t think apps are a mobile strategy, please. Apps are a side-show, a freak-show powered by idiots out of America who want to push Apple and Google profits. Most apps never ever break even. The Median app developer earns 400 dollars. Not 400 dollars per month. 400 dollars in total. That doesn't even pay for the software licences of his development tools far less his hardware costs. Don’t bother with apps. Learn about how the mobile industry makes its money. Smartphone apps are merely 7% of the ‘mobile data’ part of our industry (and 2% of the total mobile industry). So if you were ‘excited’ about your app project - understand what I am saying - in ‘mobile data’ alone - a vast vast VAST Bonanza exists that is 14 TIMES larger than total apps on all OS platforms including the dead Blackberry and Windows swamplands. Don’t you rather want to know WHERE the money IS, rather than wasting your effort trying to get people to ‘discover’ your app and then to somehow download it, and not immediately delete it and remember to use it a second time... Yes, mobile DATA is worth 549 Billion dollars. 14 times larger than all smartphone app revenues (including the 30% cut that goes to Apple and Google, including all advertising revenues, and including all in-app purchase revenues - combined). Here are the big picture revenue numbers from the TomiAhonen Almanac 2016 also summarized for you:
MOBILE INDUSTRY REVENUES
Service Revenues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 1,197 B
-- Of Which Voice Calls . . . . . . . . . . . $ 649 B
-- Of Which Mobile Messaging . . . . . $ 195 B
-- Of Which Mobile Advertising . . . . . $ 49 B
-- Of Which Other Mobile Data . . . . . $ 305 B
Hardware Revenues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 540 B
-- Of Which Handsets . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 409 B
-- Of Which other (Networks etc) . . . . $ 131 B
TOTAL INDUSTRY REVENUES . . . . . $ 1,737 B (= $ 1.7 T)
Source: TomiAhonen Almanac 2016
This table may be freely shared
This is THE industry to be in. As the global economy sputtered along, we grew by more than 100 Billion dollars again from the year before. The growth rate of mobile is bigger than videogaming total revenues in a year. We grew more than a total videogaming industry, in just one year. Or like three Hollywoods, combined. Or about 5 times the size of the global music industry. Yet those industries have their big annual awards that everybody watches on TV, the Oscars and Grammys etc. Our industry now utterly towers over those but ours is still a young industry not worried as much about giving out awards but rather finding who can be the next Uber or the next Angry Birds.
5.6 BILLION HANDSETS, OF WHICH 2.6 BILLION SMARTPHONES
So we have the consumer numbers and the industry overall. 7.6 Billion mobile accounts. 5.0 Billion unique humans. And the industry makes 1.7 Trillion dollars in revenues annually, and its the fastest-growing giant industry on the planet. What about the phones? Do we know about the phones? How many are smartphones... Yes we do. Again, my consultancy was the first to publish the SEPARATED number where mobile subscription count differed from the handset population. And I was tracking the smartphone installed base the longest as well. We know the numbers. There are 5.6 Billion total handsets in use, mobile phones - by those 5.0 Billion unique mobile users. So 600 million active mobile phones are used by someone who already has one phone, as the second phone. So yes, 12% of us carry two phones, like most of you reading this blog. I started to carry two mobile phones from 1998, one was the phone from work, paid for by my employer; the second was my personal private phone. From year 2000 one of the two was a smartphone, and from year 2001, I’ve had two smartphones always with me. But obviously I’m not ‘normal’ even for a geeky and affluent mobile consumer, I was also working inside the mobile industry. But yeah, most of you reading this blog have not just two active mobile accounts, you have two phones in your pockets at least most weekdays if not 24 hours a day like those of us deeply addicted to mobile.
Many who carry two phones are among ‘the rich’ so they tend to have two smartphones. But some are transitioning from dumbphones to smartphones, so some have still an older ‘featurephone’ which would be a cameraphone with full internet and often also touch screen, and then the new phone is a normal modern smartphone. And some who have two phones (or more) have them for only basic communciations, like say a taxi driver who might have five old well-worn Nokia handsets, one on each network - so the taxi driver’s regular customers can call or text him - on the customers’ favored networks to optimize that customer’s phone bill by allowing the call to the preferred taxi driver to be put onto the lowest-cost network for that given customer. So it takes all kinds. The numbers break down so, that out of 5.6 Billion total handsets in use, 2.6 Billion are smartphones for a 46% migration rate of the installed base of all phones in use. Out of 5.0 Billion total unique mobile phone owners, 2.3 Billion own smartphones today so also the unique owner migration rate to smartphones is at 46%. 300 million of the total installed base of smartphones are ‘second phones’ as well as 300 million of the dumbphones used as second phones.
Of the 2.6 Billion total smartphones in use, now just over 2 Billion are on Android and a bit over half a Billion are iPhones. iPhones have a longer life and are handed down more to others after the first buyer had bought a newer iPhone, so the market share of iPhones out of all smartphones in use is a bit higher than the market share of all new smartphones sold. Still if you want a rough rule of thumb, 4 out of 5 smartphones in use worldwide are Androids with the last 1 in 5 is an iPhone. We can ignore the dying platforms when considering that type of global generalization. If you want the exact percentages, then the TomiAhonen Almanac 2016 of course gives those so its 79% for Android, 19% for iOS and the last half dozen dead or dying OS platforms split the last 2%. Note in new sales iPhones only have 16% so the installed base is larger for iOS than its recent annual sales would indicate.
The Almanac 2016 edition has a whole chapter on the handset business (its the longest chapter in the Almanac and has been so for many years now) including almost any stat you could hope for, the market shares, the installed base, the revenues, the average prices, the price pyramid, the replacement cycles etc. It has several regional splits too. But lets pick a few highlights that are of interest also to those who are not considering manufacturing a phone themselves. I now report on things like GPS capability of the installed base ie 22% of all phones in use worldwide; and for example Dual SIM phones (29%) and so forth. All the older stats that have been part of the Almanac are there of course from camera resolutions to input methods to 3G to WiFi to color screen to internet browser etc. If you do need more, this blog cannot cover all of that, I wrote 200 pages of such data for you into the Almanac with 109 charts and tables. The Handset Chapter alone has 17 charts and tables and the other chapters include another 7 charts and tables about handsets for more detail. But I will add one more freebie for you reading this blog. Of course screen size is an important issue to many so as a new item for 2016, I now include the total count of phablet-screen size handset sales sold per year. For last year 2015 it was 410 million (21% of all new phones sold or 28% of new smartphones). That is almost twice the size of tablet sales worldwide, and obviously all in the PC industry know by now that tablet sales have stopped growing. Its because of... phablets of course (once again, as I predicted on this blog). Lets do a summary of the handset numbers as fresh on the TomiAhonen Almanac 2016 edition:
MOBILE HANDSETS IN NUMBERS
Total Mobile Handsets in Use (Smartphones & Dumbphones) . . . . . . 5.6 B
-- Of Which Dumbphones In Use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.0 B
-- Of Which Smartphones In Use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.6 B
Total Unique Mobile Phone Human Users . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.0 B
Source: TomiAhonen Almanac 2016
This table may be freely shared
Thats what the handset picture looks like, and this blog has made it a focus area for the past few years as the smartphone wars heated up. I expect in the future the smartphone focus will diminish but other areas of mobile will find prominence.
SERVICES SEE VOICE AND SMS MATURING
Then lets move to the services side. Not everybody reading this blog is eager to launch a mobile phone handset like Pepsi in China or Caterpillar’s rival Dewalt or say the fabulous ‘musician’ smartphone by electric guitar amplifier-manufacturers Marshall. Handsets only account for 24% of the industry revenues. More than twice that - over 70% of the mobile industry revenues are in ‘services’ not the handsets (remaining about 6% are in networking equipment like provided by Ericsson, Nokia-Alcatel and Huawei; and the accessories market for handsetes). Most of service revenues are collected by the ‘carriers’ ie mobile operators out of their voice and messaging business but also increasingly out of their premium data services such as internet access or mobile wallets or telematics or other new mobile data businesses. Voice call usage has dropped so that only 72% of mobile phone owners even ever originate voice calls. I’ve been teaching for years not to call the device a ‘mobile PHONE’ or a ‘cellular PHONE’ or a ‘cellPHONE’ because the voice calls are no longer the primary service we use. The ‘mobile’ as I call it, is used primarily as a messaging device, secondarily as an imaging device (camera, selfies, videos) and thirdly as a time-keeping and alarming device (replacing the wristwatch). Don’t call it a ‘phone’. Call it a ‘mobile’ and you will also free your mind from the mental limits of what that device can be and can do for you and your customers, audiences, users, citizens, patients, students etc.
While voice usage has peaked ages ago and voice revenues recently also peaked, they are still the largest slice of the mobile services sector and indeed still the largest single revenue stream of the total industry. Voice calls generated 648 Billion dollars last year, or about 37% of the total industry’s revenues. Within mobile services voice call revenue now accounts for just over half. What is the other half (not apps, again..). Messaging has just hit its plateau in total revenues, down 1% from last year, to 195 Billion dollars globally. (Yes mobile phone messaging alone is worth more than global music industry, plus global cinema industry, plus global videogaming industry, combined).
Again that is not Whatsapp or any OTT messaging. Its mostly good old trusted SMS and MMS. Both of these are now seeing declines in their annual revenues (while their traffic still grows and user numbers are essentially flat. Whatsapp is not killing SMS or MMS, Whatsapp has stolen their growth. Which is .. again .. as I have predicted for more than a decade of what would happen to SMS and MMS - as I said then, not now, but eventually this would be happening. Its now starting to happen yes. The GROWTH was stolen by Whatsapp. SMS and MMS are nowhere near starting to die yet, total traffic still GREW, users were flat but revenues have now peaked and are starting to come down. It was about time, SMS was the planet’s most profitable big industry ever, so the billing was not sustainable indefinitely at those rates). Messaging has its own chapter with all the users, traffic numbers and revenues, SMS, Premium SMS, MMS, OTT including Whatsapp, etc. But yeah. Top-line numbers. SMS has 5.8 Billion users (vs 1.0 Billion for Whatsapp). MMS is the planet’s second most used data service with still more users than the total internet on any platforms (and far far bigger therefore than say Facebook) with 3.3 Billion active users. MMS is not primarily used for picture-sharing, MMS is primarily used as originally intended, as the letters themselves clearly state - MULTIMEDIA Messaging Service. Its not PMS, Picture Messaging Service. Its a Multimedia service via messaging. To deliver media like news, entertainment and advertising. To deliver QR codes and airline tickets. To deliver web links and TV show preview clips and movie ads. Its a MULTIMEDIA messaging platform showing massive global MEDIA growth. Which is 3 times larger than Whatsapp by reach and twice the size of Facebook.
The messaging chapter runs 19 pages with 13 charts yes from SMS to MMS to Whatsapp and other OTT messaging on mobile. As so many businesses and government sectors are still only discovering the power of mobile messaging, and the industry is so big (mobile messaging alone is almost as big by revenues as the total global internet, and twice as big by total users). All the big gurus of the mobile industry keep reminding their audiences and readers that ‘Mobile First starts with SMS’ as I’ve been teaching forever, and still the areas where SMS can be used is under-served with enormous growth still ahead, that chapter is warranted both by its scale and being early in the Almanac. So for example last year we learned that the Red Cross in Sweden has started to send out thank-you messages via SMS, when the blood you donated was actually used today (and what type of life-threatening situation it was used in). Imagine the power of that! Or how say Square the mobile payment APP is using SMS to let Square users reach those who don’t have a Square account. Or how Visa is shifting online payment confimation passwords to one-time SMS messages sent from your bank to verify the payment. There are Uber clones that run on SMS. There is a free Wikipedia delivery system in many African nations letting people who don’t have a browser on their phones (very poor people often) access top-line Wikipedia paragraphs for free, and for just modest SMS charges, read more of Wikipedia if they need more information. Contracts in Spain can be signed by SMS and taxes, as I said, in Norway can be filed by SMS. If you lose your email password, the major email providers now prefer to send you a new password to your phone, via SMS. So yes, if you need more data on messaging, a whole chapter awaits you in the Almanac 2016.
So the media side of mobile is rapidly growing. The news organizations finally figured out a few years ago that the internet was not their future and tablets were a lost cause. The future of the newsmedia is mobile - not words of mine, so said the Associated Press newspaper guild to its members. Similarly advertising media giant WPP (parent of its better known ad agencies like Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy & Mather, Young & Rubicam and closer to us in mobile tech and reseach, WPP also owns Kantar and TNS research companies today). WPP’s Chairman Sir Martin Sorrell (who incidentially is known internally as SMS haha, Sir Martin is a big fan of mobile and messaging) says the fastest-growing slice of global advertising is.. duh.. mobile.
Of the largest media content types on mobile, Social Media is now the biggest worth 42 Billion dollars. TV and video services are second worth 39 Billion and mobile gaming comes third at 34 Billion dollars. In addition to mobile advertising (worth 49 Billion dollars) the top 5 biggest mobile data services apart from messaging, includes mobile search already worth 36 Billion dollars in 2015. Thats your top 5 and for those who have followed our incredibly-fast-growing mobile data industry, yeah, the first hit service of our industry, Mobile Music has dropped out of the Top 5, its even out of the Top 10 by now. Still, I include music as a relevant chapter in the Almanac to see how former giant slices of the industry will manage their declines, to see what may be soon coming to say messaging. But Advertising, Social Media, TV and Gaming of course have their own chapters in the Almanac with several charts and tables each. Mobile Advertising (or mAd as I like to call it) is one of the longest chapters running 11 pages with 8 charts and tables. To grab a few details from those chapters. Gaming has 1.9 Billion mobile users today (of downloaded or online mobile games, not counting games pre-loaded on the phones). Social Media’s largest market is now Emerging Asia, no longer the rich part of Asia. And lets take one detail from the mAd chapter - so in the split of mAd types, banner ads now deliver 56% of all mobile ad revenues. There, you can’t complain that I am not sharing plenty of data from the Almanac haha...
Now yes, there is a chapter on smartphone apps too. Its there mainly because so many begged to see it but seriously, I can’t afford to put more than 7 pages into apps in a 209 page book, where apps only generate 2% of the revenues of the industry. But yeah, five charts and tables for you if you really need to know about apps - and this is in addition to the smartphone OS charts that are in the handset chapter. But note, for example, I have in the handset chapter the regional splits of OS platforms by region. So you can see which OS platform has the installed base in any region, and which OS platform sells the most in that region to see where it may be shifting in the future. Thats stuff not in the apps chapter, its in the smartphone OS part of the handset chapter. And some apps-related info is in the gaming and social media chapters too.
But in total, a general mobile internet chapter; then a general ‘all media’ chapter. Then five specific media category chapters like gaming plus an ‘other media’ chapter. Then still an advertising chapter and an apps chapter. If you’re in media and content and think Tomi only talks about SMS and smartphones, the Almanac has 86 pages with 48 charts and tables for you (79 pages, 43 charts beyond the one apps chapter). If its not in the Almanac, you won’t find it in any other ‘generic’ mobile industry document, then you have to go buy a specialist report on your industry from one of the analyst houses which typically costs 1,000 dollars or more, and will give you a hundred pages or more on your specific needs. That is not what my Almanac is for. My Almanac is the generalist volume covering the whole mobile industry, every year, with all data updated. And the 100 most important issues explained in their own charts and tables, over 200 pages.
MEDIA UNIQUE AUDIENCE
There is again a ‘world first’ chart in the Almanac that you cannot literally find anywhere else. You know how the various media have ‘inflated’ numbers. So Facebook says it has 1.6 Billion accounts but that includes duplicates. FB itself admits it expects something like 11% of all FB accounts to be duplicates, so the unique FB reach is only 1.5 Billion, not 1.6 Billion. Same is obviously true of mobile, as we saw earlier, its not 7.6 Billion unique humans but rather 5.0 Billion who actually own a mobile phone. With these technologies the REACH is less than the top-line biggest registered user count. So then the other way around. Newspaper circulation is about 425 million but newspapers are read typically by more than one person, either at home or at the office. So newpaper audience REACH is significantly larger, newspaper REACH is 1.1 Billion humans. Same for TV, its not how many households HAVE a TV, but we need to adjust TV reach by how many people live in that household that has a TV. Nobody has ever published a listing that includes the biggest media and communication tech (including mobile obviously including SMS and MMS) but also internet, and traditional media like TV, radio, newspapers. I have. Now that we have a solid number on the unique mobile users, I have finally been able to publish that number which I had been working on for a couple of years, and have used parts of it in my private consultancy sessions. But nobody on the planet has released a table with those industries - by their UNIQUE human audience REACH, as a comparable table. I have it now, in the Almanac. Here is the highlight:
Mobile total reach is 5.9 Billion unique humans. TV comes second, with a total reach planet-wise of 5.3 Billion humans. Radio comes third reaching 4.3 Billion unique people alive globally. Fourth? Comes UNIQUE users of SMS at 4.1 Billion UNIQUE texting users (many of us use SMS on two or more accounts that is how we get from 4.1 Billion unique SMS users to 5.8 Billion total SMS accounts). Fifth? Is DVD/Blueray video player reach at 3.4 Billion unique humans.
MEDIA AND TECH TOP 5 LARGEST AUDIENCES BY UNIQUE HUMANS
Mobile Telecoms Reach . . . . . . . . . . . 5.9 B unique humans
Television Audience Reach . . . . . . . . 5.3 B unique humans
Radio Audience Reach . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.3 B unique humans
SMS Text Messaging Unique Users . . 4.1 B unique humans
DVD/Blueray Player Audience . . . . . . 3.4 B unique humans.
Source: TomiAhonen Almanac 2016
This table may be freely shared
So first, I will yes, write a separate blog about this topic, with more of the numbers and full analysis and sources how I got to those numbers. But the Almanac today has not just those 5, but the unique reach/audiences of 20 media and communication tech. If you are in any media, advertising, customer service or other such business, this is alone a reason to buy the Almanac now, because literally nobody else has this data today. It is now only to those of my loyal readers who buy the Almanac religiously every year when it comes out. I put always new stuff in it (it has again more pages and more charts and more info than last year, plus all data updated to be current). But later this year, I will write a blog about the major tech reach of major media and communciation platforms. (The blog won’t cover all 20 but more than these 5, haha.) Today as we celebrate the new Almanac and take highlight data points from it, those 5 are enough. Yes, there is again a unique TomiAhonen Consulting statistic that everybody will be quoting. Get yours now.
ON THE STAT OF 221 TIMES
Oh, and if you missed it, the Almanac has the old 150 times per day chart for all phones including smart and dumb, but also the new 221 times per day version, that I have not yet done into the public domain. That was new for last year’s Almanac. I’ll get to it eventually too, but if you wanted to know WHAT we humans do, when we use our phones, how can we look at the phone 221 times per day? I have that breakdown in the Almanac. But don’t worry, I have freebie stuff too - if you want to read the 150 times-per-day breakdown that was on this blog a couple of years ago, still valid today. Read it here. So I have now done the parallel analysis breaking down the 221 times statistic in a similar way. And yes, I will at some point come to the blog to do the 221 times version too. Now, for those who doubt those numbers.. we just heard from Apple that an average iPhone is UNLOCKED 80 times per day. That is totally consistent with smartphone users looking at the smartphone 221 times per day, because some of the activity we do requires more than one look - like placing a phone call - we need to look at the phone to start the call (and unlock the iPhone) but at the end of the call, we have to hit the ‘end’ button ie look a second time to end the call. Its possible the call was interrupted, we lost the signal, and had to re-dial, meaning 3 looks just on ONE phone call, assuming no other follow-up or prep work relating to the call on that session. And then consider all the info we can get from the iPhone without unlocking it, like who sent the message or who is calling now. And we also do some activities on it without unlocking it like when we charge the iPhone or take it from the charger. Unlocking an iPhone 80 times per day is VERY consistent with looking at an iPhone about 221 times per day, certainly 150 per day is not enough, and 221 times per day might be a bit low.
Talking about the consumers, the customers, the users of mobile. There is OF COURSE a chapter on the consumers. What we do on mobile and various stats and charts about it. Including what are the most common features we use, etc. So lets share again one item from that chapter. The Top 10 most used features from most to least starts with SMS. Then camera, clock/alarm and voice calls. Then fifth comes advertising (as in how many consumers receive ads, not necessarily requesting them, obviously). The rest of the Top 10 in order: Music, MMS, Mobile Internet, Voice Mail and News. Yes voice mail has dropped to 9th in usage of mobile. MMS is still ahead of the internet. The actual table this year has 21 items instead of 20, because VOIP has joined the bottom tied with what was 20th, and yes, VOIP services like Skype are now a Top 20 usage type on mobile phones. The Consumer chapter of the Almanac is at the beginning of the book, runs 17 pages long and has 8 charts and tables. Just like I would not deliver a lecture or seminar about mobile without talking about our customers, I couldn’t imagine writing a book or report without discussing the latest trends in mobile customers. But 8% of the total Almanac is devoted to this topic directly. Consumers/customers/users/audience as a topic however, is also discussed in most of the other chapters that follow to some degree.
The Almanac is written out of two decades of studying and reporting on mobile data. Its written by me, a fan of mobile data and numbers to you, an audience who craves that detail. I know out of so long working with people studying this industry, what data needs more detail, and what type of graphic illustration helps explain it. Like one of the most popular charts from the Almanac series, the Venn Diagram that shows internet use. Because some of access the internet both on a PC and on mobile, how to measure one ‘or’ the other? You CAN’T. You have to show by Venn Diagram. Some people never use mobile, only use a PC (desktop or laptop, or now more recently, tablet PC). That was 100% of internet users in 1996. Today only 9% of internet users never use a mobile and exclusively acces the internet on a computer of some kind (when tablets are included as PCs). Meanwhile the proportion of internet users who never use a PC, not even from a shared PC at school or from one at an internet cafe, keeps rising fast. Its 43% of all internet users already, who only use a mobile and don’t use a PC. Then the remaining 48% are like you and me, we use both a PC and a smartphone to access the internet.
INTERNET USE BY ACCESS METHOD: 3.2B TOTAL USERS
Access Internet Only by PC Never by Mobile . . . . . . . 9%
Access Internet by Both PC and Mobile . . . . . . . . . . 43%
Access Internet Only by Mobile Never by PC . . . . . . 48%
Note Tablets are included in PC count not mobile count
Source: TomiAhonen Almanac 2016
This table may be freely shared
That is the kind of info the Almanac is full of. And trust me, I wrote the Almanac for myself. I may seem like a walking computer myself knowing every data point but I dig into the Almanac ever single week to find out some detail I hadn’t memorized, most weeks when I work, I go to the Almanac several times per week. If nobody bought a single copy of it, I would produce a new Almanac every year just for myself, its that valuable - for me, the ‘numbers guy’ of the industry haha. As I’ve frequently said, that is why its formatted for the small screens of smartphones, so you can store the pdf file onto your phone and carry the Almanac with you and have all the industry stats always in your pocket.
WHAT ELSE IS THERE
Now let me see, is there anything else I’d like to share with you today? One of the items I’m most proud of, is the Digital Divide chapter near the end, where I devote a whole chapter just to explore the digital divide. Most data you’ll find about mobile is about the ‘usual suspects’ rich Western countries who have tons of market research data for them. The USA, UK, various European nations, some Australia, Japan, etc. But try to find data for Nigeria or Brazil or Indonesia or Egypt and you’re out of luck. So I divided the world to ‘rich world’ and Emerging World, for the top-line big numbers and into three tables in the chapter. So you can see for example the handsets how the handset statistics differ dramatically between the West and the Rest. In the Industrialized World of 1.1 Billion people living in affluence, we have 1.6 Billion total mobile phones. Our world is so advanced, we have 100% of the handsets now as cameraphones, 95% of the mobiles are on 3G or faster networks and 81% of our phones are smartphones. But contrast to the Emerging World, there 6.1 Billion people only have 4.0 Billion mobile phones. Of those only 88% are cameraphones, only 65% are 3G phones and only 33% are smartphones. Yes 67% of the Emerging World still uses ‘featurephones’ or ‘dumbphones’. That makes a dramatic difference to you to know, if you wanted to expand your business to say Morocco or Argentina or the Philippines. This is again the type of info that my Almanac is designed to help with.
Then on the back of the Almanac are even more tables and charts. One very useful table is the 60 largest countries of the mobile INDUSTRY. So for ‘rich world’ countries, Europe etc, you can expect any nation with a population of 4 million or more to be included. Ireland is in, Luxembourg is not. New Zealand and Singapore are in, Macau is out. And then for the Emerging World, I set the cut-off at about 15 million for LatAm (Ecuador, Peru are in) or about 30 million for the poorer parts such as Africa (Kenya, Morocco are in). And so if its a ‘major’ country anywhere, the 60 biggest nations relevant to mobile are in the Almanac. If your business is going to Ukraine or Taiwan or Colombia, they are in my table at the back. Each nation has one line, so its just the mobile subscriber count (and population and penetration rate) plus a few most important details - is there 3G and have MVNOs launched in that country - both vital insights to you if you consider your mobile project. But once you know the national mobile penetration rate, with the rest of the Almanac especially the Digital Divide chapter, you can make very good educated guesses of other mobile stats for that country, such as how big is its smartphone population or its internet use on mobile, etc.
The Almanac also includes all my proprietary stats published occasionally on this blog and discussed often in my keynote presentations and seminars around the world. So for example I have at the back of the Almanac my “Index of Mobile Market Leadership” that has been published for over 10 years now, which is a numbers-based index of mobile market LEADERSHIP. Where do top countries rank against each other, by their mobile market maturity. No surprise Japan leads and Singapore comes second. The Top 5 for 2015 has South Korea third, Sweden fourth and Taiwan fifth. (For American readers, USA comes in at 13th tied with Norway; for British readers UK is currently ranked 8th). The index uses the four best measures for national leadership in mobile: mobile subscription level; mobile network evolution; how advanced are the mobile handsets; mobile service use level.
And before any US based opinions are given - ALL international experts - experts of MOBILE - agree that Japan is our industry leader and the USA is not in the Top 10. Only ignorant Americans would dare suggest their archaic industry is the leader of mobile. Japan was the first country to not just launch 3G, it was the first country to shut off its 2G networks (they still operate in the USA). Japan was first to launch the mobile internet and first to report more than half of total internet users were from mobile. Japan was first to launch NFC based mobile wallets literally 10 years before Apple finally brough that tech to the USA a little over a year ago. As I said, the index has been published for more than ten years now, and it is NUMBERS-based not based on some silly Silicon Valley Apple writer’s personal delusions. The Almanac includes the 30 most advanced countries of mobile (excluding the tiny ones like Luxembourg, Monaco and Macau) and sitting at 30, is South Africa. Oh, the Index also roughly explains how much TIME a given country is ahead of others, with 10 Index points suggesting one year of a lead, so Sweden is one year ahead of the USA. Did you know in Sweden all bus tickets can be paid by mobile. All bus tickets. Did you know that Stockholm’s first hotels to have NFC-operated mobile keys were operational already in 2010 !!! Four YEARS before Apple bothered to put NFC on the iPhone 6 (and even then Apple in its wisdom did its typical proprietary solution to limit NFC). Yes its a fair judgement to say Sweden is about a year ahead of the USA in mobile (arguably, FOUR years).
So yes, the Index has its latest listing of the 30 most advanced countries too. And all the other TomiAhonen exclusive stats you have grown to love in the Almanac and on this blog. So thats the big numbers blog for us for May 2016. Bookmark this page as you won’t remember all these and will need to come back to this page in coming months. The fastest-growing giant industry in human history. The genuine money-making machine that produces the most Billionaires and Millionaires and does it the fastest. The immensely profitable industry reaching literally the pocket of every economically viable person on the planet. The most widely spread technology in human history that is still growing fast. If you thought you knew mobile was big, its actually even bigger. But as my dear friend Chetan Sharma likes to say, the golden age of mobile is only now beginning. The first four decades were the time of experimentation and exploration. Now the really big impacts of mobile start to be felt. With that, lets do a short preview of the Almanac, I released it just over the weekend. It costs the same as always, only 10 Euros ie 9 UK Pounds ie 14 US Dollars. Nothing really considering how much great up-to-date statistic and information it contains. The Table of Contents for TomiAhonen Almanac 2016 edition:
Contents: TomiAhonen Almanac 2016
(has 213 pages, 109 tables and charts. Cost only 10 Euros, 9 UKP, 14 USD)
Chapter 1 - Intro to this Almanac . . . . . . . . . Page 1
Chapter 2 - Size of Industry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Chapter 3 - Customers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Chapter 4 - Handsets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Chapter 5 - Mobile Messaging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
Chapter 6 - Mobile Internet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
Chapter 7 - Seventh Mass Media Channel . . . . . . 98
Chapter 8 - Music on Mobile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112
Chapter 9 - Mobile TV and Video . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
Chapter 10 - Mobile Gaming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
Chapter 11 - Mobile Social Networking . . . . . . . . 133
Chapter 12 - Other Mobile Content . . . . . . . . . . . 140
Chapter 13 - Smartphone Apps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
Chapter 14 - Mobile Advertising and Marketing . 156
Chapter 15 - Voice Calls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167
Chapter 16 - Business/Enterprise Services . . . . 173
Chapter 17 - Other Mobile Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176
Chapter 18 - Network Infrastructure . . . . . . . . . . 179
Chapter 19 - Digital Divide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182
Chapter 20 - History and Milestones . . . . . . . . . . 193
Tables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 202
Index of Mobile Leadership for 30 advanced countries
60 Major Countries
25 Countries by Most Mobile Subscribers
25 Countries with Highest Mobile Penetration Rate
25 Countries with Highest 3G Penetration Rate
20 Biggest Mobile Operator Groups
About the Author . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214
Other books by Tomi T Ahonen
Thats the TomiAhonen Almanac 2016 edition. Best little book about the biz you could ever hope for. Its again longer, now running 213 pages. It has again more tablets and charts, now 109. It still costs the same tiny 10 Euros (9 UKP, 14 USD) you can buy it now and have it on your smartphone today. The unrestricted pdf file can be saved on multiple devices you own, and have it on your smartphone permanently saved (file size is only 1.3 MB so its tiny) and the screen is formated for reading on a smartphone screen. Get the Almanac now before all your competitors have theirs. And all the data in the Almanac is of course yours free to use, you can just screen-grab the tables directly to use in your powerpoints or company presentations if you want etc. Best data package of the mobile industry by the guy who really knows the numbers. To see more about the Almanac and the page to order it, is here.