In less than a decade, the mobile internet revolution has overtaken the digital revolution and is still accelerating.
In 2014, Boston Consulting Group published the first part of a two-part series study that examines the impact of the mobile internet in Europe. The study provides an overview of the reach, effects, and possibilities of the mobile internet in order to help policymakers better analyze the mobile internet’s current and future influence and create policies to further its growth.
By 2017, research firm eMarketer found that seven of the top ten countries for smartphone penetration will be in Europe and in three European nations smartphone penetration will exceed 90 percent. Several factors are contributing to this growth including greater access, increasingly sophisticated mobile-device functionality, fast-rising device sales, an ever-increasing range of devices and device types and sharply falling prices.
“The numbers tell one part of the story. There are currently almost 7 billion mobile phone subscriptions globally, or one for every person on Earth.”
The mobile internet continues to revolutionize the economy, and as it does it intensifies competition in operating systems and technology. Competition among operating systems and their apps ecosystems has led to the growing innovation and development of smart-devices and a surge in device sales. In the EU, smartphones now dominate the mobile phone market as competition provides consumers and businesses alike with more options, affordable devices and new products.
In 2013, in the EU5 (Germany, France, the UK, Italy and Spain), the mobile economy generated about €90 billion ($120 billion) in revenue and is responsible for an estimated half a million jobs. In the 13 countries surveyed for this study, the mobile internet was already producing some €512 billion ($682 billion) in revenues annually and employing an estimated 3 million people in those 13 countries.
The economic advantages of the mobile internet are big and clear. The competition created by the mobile internet has driven innovation and experimentation that have generated billions in economic activity, millions of jobs and a sizable consumer surplus. What’s more, mobile is only now beginning to revolutionize multiple industries that have a large impact on GDP, and sectors including healthcare, travel and transport provide opportunities for additional growth.