According to a new forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC), the U.S. mobile worker population will grow at a steady rate over the next five years, increasing from 96.2 million in 2015 to 105.4 million mobile workers in 2020. By the end of the forecast period, IDC expects mobile workers will account for nearly three quarters (72.3%) of the total U.S. workforce.
Key drivers behind the growth in the U.S. mobile worker population include the increasing affordability of smartphones and tablets combined with the growing acceptance of corporate bring your own device (BYOD) programs. In addition, innovations in mobile technology such as biometric readers, wearables, voice control, near-field communications (NFC), and augmented reality are enabling workers in completely new ways, increasing productivity by enhancing communications and business workflows. In a recent IDC survey, 69.1% of enterprise mobility stakeholders polled saw a reduction in opex or capex costs as a result of implementing BYOD programs.
"Mobility has become synonymous with productivity both inside and outside the workplace, and the mass adoption of mobile technology in the United States has cultivated an environment where workers expect to leverage mobile technology at work," said Bryan Bassett, research analyst, Mobile Enterprise Device Solutions at IDC. "This expectation will be supplemented by new solutions specifically intended to manage the challenges associated with the growing needs of the mobile workforce."
Key findings from IDC's mobile worker forecast include:
- Office-based and non-office-based mobile worker populations will stay in relative balance to one another throughout the forecast, with non-office-based mobile workers representing more than two-thirds of the total mobile worker population.
- Manufacturing, construction, retail, and healthcare workers are inherently more mobile and these industries are expected to see faster growth in their mobile worker population than other vertical markets over the forecast period.
- Healthcare workers represent the largest segment of the mobile workforce, accounting for 18% of the total U.S. mobile worker population when office-based and non-office-based healthcare workers are combined.
IDC defines office-based mobile workers as those whose primary workplace is an office environment, including both corporate and home locations. This category includes mobile professionals, occasionally mobile workers, mobile non-travelers, and telecommuters. Non-office-based mobile workers are those whose primary workplace is on location or in the field, not in an office environment. The two types of non-office-based mobile workers are mobile field workers and mobile on-location workers.
The IDC study, U.S. Mobile Worker Forecast, 2015-2020, forecasts the U.S. mobile worker population by segment across industry verticals and analyzes trends and drivers in mobile adoption. It includes office-based mobile worker and non-office-based mobile worker segments for the United States and tracks segment growth across major industry verticals as defined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.