The global mobile advertising market will hit two significant milestones in 2016, according to new figures from eMarketer, surpassing $100 billion in spending and accounting for more than 50% of all digital ad expenditure for the first time.
The $101.37 billion to be spent on ads served to mobile phones and tablets worldwide next year represents a nearly 430% increase from 2013. Between 2016 and 2019, the last year in our forecast period, mobile ad spending will nearly double, hitting $195.55 billion to account for 70.1% of digital ad spend as well as over one-quarter of total media ad spending globally.
Not surprisingly, growth in mobile ad spending is being driven by consumer adoption of mobile devices. Next year, eMarketer estimates, there will be more than 2 billion smartphone users worldwide, over one-quarter of whom will live in China alone. Especially there and in other emerging and developing markets, many consumers are accessing the internet mobile-first and mobile-only, so leading advertisers allocate their digital expenditure to mobile accordingly.
The number of tablet users worldwide, while growing more slowly than the smartphone audience, is still expected to eclipse 1 billion in 2015. The proliferation of these mobile devices across the world is driving the shift in advertising from the desktop to reach these untethered, always-on consumers.
In the short term, the leading global markets, particularly the US and China, will drive mobile ad spending growth. In 2016, US advertisers will spend $40.24 billion to reach consumers on tablets and mobile phones, more than doubling the total from 2014, while those in China will invest $22.14 billion—nearly triple the amount they spent in 2014. Both of these countries will see mobile become a majority of digital ad spending next year.
Rounding out the top five countries, the UK, Japan and Germany also will see significant increases in mobile ad spending next year, but in all three markets, a majority of digital ad spending will be on mobile devices in 2017 for the first time.
While the top five countries will maintain their positions throughout our forecast, there are other markets on the move. Next year, Canada and Australia will surpass South Korea to become the sixth- and seventh-largest mobile ad markets globally, respectively.
By 2018, several of the top growth markets will have made significant gains. That year, Brazil will jump three spots from 2015 to become the ninth-largest mobile ad market globally, and Indonesia will make the largest gain, rising from No. 21 this year to No. 12. Notably, however, despite India’s massive mobile audience, the market will continue to lag in mobile ad spending, failing to eclipse $1 billion by 2018.
eMarketer’s latest worldwide ad spending forecast is accompanied by an interactive tool that provides data on traditional, digital and mobile ad spending in 22 countries. Explore the dynamics of the global advertising landscape and compare and contrast which countries are projected to make the fastest switch to digital, and which are staying the course with traditional outlets.