Mobile Social Networking growth accelerates: Revenues could reach US$52 billion by 2012

11 February 2008

Mobile Social Networking is already an established service in some regions, but in 2008 and beyond new features are attracting larger numbers of users and permitting new business opportunities.  Mobile Social Networking is now a global phenomenon with expansion in all directions.

Informa has just published a ground breaking report entitled Mobile Social Networking: Communities and Content on the Move. The research concludes that the number of mobile social networking users exceeded 50 million, approximately 2.3% of the global mobile user population on December 31 2007. Some of these users were registered in multiple mobile communities, engaging with friends, having fun and sharing their passions with others. With only low investments from mobile network operators, the growth in users and community registrations will continue at a CAGR of 30-50%, depending on the type of community and the region. By 2012, there will be between 12.5% penetration of mobile social networks among mobile users globally in the most conservative scenario, approximately 23% in the high growth scenario. 

"Mobile Social Networking is approaching or has reached critical mass among mobile subscribers in South Korea and Japan," says Christine Perey, independent analyst, PEREY Research & Consulting, and author of the report. "The US, the Nordic countries and Western Europe are experiencing high growth and other geographies are following. Much of the recent additions have been responses to new WAP-based services which offer engaging communities and exciting features with low obstacles to entry. Both off-deck and on-deck, the latest mobile community platforms are providing rich media experiences that users want on their mobile handsets."

In 2006, Mobile Social Networking revenues exceeded US$1.5 billion and more than doubled in 2007. The revenue growth will accelerate in the next two years but after that point, much depends on mobile network operators' policies and the interests of users. By 2012 revenues generated from all business models in this industry is forecast to reach US$28.9 billion in the most conservative scenario and $52 billion in the high growth scenario.

Global mobile community revenues forecast in three scenarios  2007-2012

US$ million/year 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Conservative scenario
North America 732 1,286 2,019 3,058 4,489 6,395
Latin America 35 64 109 184 296 489
Asia Pacific 1,664 2,739 4,075 5,931 8,517 11,896
Europe 945 1,848 3,179 5,013 7,192 9,754
AME 15 34 67 125 227 402
Total Conservative scenario 3,392 5,972 9,449 14,311 20,721 28,936
Middle scenario
North America 766 1,411 2,327 3,701 5,685 8,429
Latin America 36 70 125 220 371 637
Asia Pacific 1,740 3,003 4,686 7,143 10,704 15,522
Europe 990 2,034 3,680 6,099 9,160 12,929
AME 16 36 74 146 274 505
Total Middle scenario 3,548 6,554 10,892 17,308 26,194 38,023
High Growth scenario
North America 830 1,648 2,901 4,862 7,752 11,752
Latin America 39 82 155 290 509 898
Asia Pacific 1,867 3,436 5,673 9,053 14,040 20,837
Europe 1,073 2,376 4,587 7,998 12,447 17,934
AME 17 42 93 194 386 743
Total High Growth scenario 3,827 7,548 13,409 22,397 35,134 52,164

Source: Informa Telecoms & Media

Over the next 24 months communities which foster friendships will continue strong growth in users and revenues. Entertainment community segment revenues will overtake in some regions in 2010. Other community segments focusing on productivity, fame and social shopping are beginning to emerge on mobile platforms, diversifying the offers and attracting people of different socioeconomic and demographic profiles to Mobile Social Networking services.

"This report is the first of its kind, to keep the hype to one side, and truly focus on what is under the covers of online communities globally. It explores the role of the different players, involved in the value chain of user generated content including the innovative software vendors, trusted operators, and the trendy social networks. This is a hot area at the moment; it is great to see such a comprehensive report that deals with the facts," says Nagappan Arunachalam (Arun) Chief Marketing Officer, NewBay Software.

Tim O'Conner, CEO of FunkSexyCool, Inc. says, "This report is absolutely brilliant. The industry has needed something like this for years. Now we can use the frameworks and analyses to cut through the chase and have better business discussions."

About Mobile Social Networking: Communities and Content on the Move

Mobile Social Networking: Communities and Content on the Move is a 270-page report that assesses social, business and technology factors in the Mobile Social Networking equation and provides the most detailed and insightful examination of the market-today and in the future. The report includes important new industry segmentations and introduces a powerful model for quantifying the market growth using three scenarios. In the companion volume, 31 fully operational mobile social networking services are described and their positions/prospects for growth analysed from multiple perspectives.

For more information or to order your copy please visit:

About PEREY Research & Consulting

PEREY Research & Consulting provides independent analyses and strategic planning services to the mobile industry in the areas of mobile UGC, social networking and video communications. For more information about the company and services offered, go to

About Informa Telecoms & Media

Informa Telecoms & Media is the leading provider of business intelligence and strategic services to the global telecoms and media markets. There are two key strands to Informa Telecom & Media's business:

Providing business critical information

Informa Telecoms & Media produce and distribute business information products using innovative formats and powerful channels that meet the real business needs of their customers. Informa Telecom & Media's research services, reports and consultancy guides the decisions of over 10,000 leading decision makers.

Creating communities

Informa Telecoms & Media works to actively foster and empower the communities it works with, assisting in debating and sharing best practice, solving problems and stimulating innovation. From magazines to online information portals, from large exhibitions to intimate networking lunches at focused conferences, Informa Telecoms & Media bring the industry together to enable progress within the dynamic telecoms and media markets.

For Further Information about the content of this report, please contact:

Christine Perey

Author, Analyst and Consultant

PEREY Research & Consulting

+41 (0) 79 436 68 69

For Assistance in placing an order for this report, please contact:

Adaeze Ebigbo

Business Intelligence Executive

voice +44 (0)207 017 4851

fax +44 (0)207 017 5657

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