Mobile Growth Forecast, 2016-2020

Mobile use continues to see strong growth across all demographics. In 2016 there was over 6.1 billion mobile users worldwide. By the end of 2020, the number of worldwide mobile users is expected to increase to over 6.9 billion.

Mobile devices in use, including smartphones and tablets, will grow from over 11 billion in 2016 to over 16 billion by 2020

Table 1: Worldwide Mobile Users vs. Mobile Devices, 2016-2020 (*) Note: Includes phones and tablets.


Worldwide growth of mobile users mirrors population growth in the various regions of the world, as increasingly users across all regions have access to some form of mobile technology, either phones or tablets, or both.

Mobile Phone devices still account for the majority of mobile devices in use today. Mobile phones are increasingly used for all forms of data communication, such as SMS/Text, chat, email, and social media.  All smartphones now come with larger screens that make them easier to use when sending and receiving data.  The number of worldwide Mobile Email users is expected to grow at an annual rate of 12% over the next four years.

Mobile Messaging refers to IM and chat designed for use on mobile devices. Mobile Messaging services have become increasingly popular with all mobile users, as they bypass SMS fees and allow users to send large messages with pictures, videos, or other non-text data.

The implications are quite clear – if you’re not able to reach your audience through mobile search, apps or display, or you’re not providing a satisfactory mobile experience you will miss out compared to competitors who are.

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