IDC forecasts global spending on the Internet of Things (IoT) to stand at US$805.7 billion in 2023, up 10.6% over 2022. Investments in the IoT ecosystem are expected to surpass US$1 trillion in 2026 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.4% over the 2023-2027 forecast period.
"The last few years have shown that connecting with a digital infrastructure is no longer a luxury, but a necessity," said Carlos M. González, research manager for the Internet of Things at IDC. "For organisations to excel in data-driven operations, investing in IoT projects is essential."
"Connecting devices to data networks to gather insight, expand operations, and increase performance are the hallmarks of executing an IoT ecosystem."Carlos M. González
Discrete and process manufacturing are the industries that will see the largest investment in IoT solutions in 2023 and throughout the forecast period, accounting for more than one-third of all IoT spending worldwide.
Professional services, utilities, and retail are the next largest industries in terms of overall IoT spending with roughly 25% of the worldwide total. State/local government and telecommunications will deliver the fastest spending growth over the five-year forecast with CAGRs of 12.0% and 11.7% respectively.
IoT investment is a key building block to supporting an increasingly digital and distributed organisational footprint. Most of these investments are seeking solutions that can help organisations achieve a specific business goal or customer challenges, such as cost savings or supply chain efficiency. As such, use cases are the focus of most IoT investment plans.
The two IoT use cases that will receive the most investment in 2023 are both closely tied to the manufacturing industries: manufacturing operations (US$73.0 billion) and production asset management (US$68.2 billion). The next largest use cases – inventory intelligence (US$37.6 billion), smart grid (electricity) (US$36.9 billion), and supply chain resilience (US$31.6 billion) – will benefit from strong investments from the Retail and Utilities industries.
The use cases that will experience the fastest spending growth represent the diverse application of IoT technologies – electric vehicle charging (30.9% CAGR), next-generation loss prevention (14.5% CAGR), agriculture field monitoring (13.9% CAGR), and connected vending and lockers (13.8% CAGR).
The influence of digital transformation is evident
IDC says updates to the IoT use case taxonomy in this release of the IoT Spending Guide reflect the evolving digital transformation investment objectives of enterprises.
Thematically, greater investment in goods production and supply chains resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and global reactions that caused massive business and societal disruptions are evident in the new use cases.
"These production and supply chain-related use cases can be seen in the discrete manufacturing, process manufacturing, retail, and transportation industries," said Marcus Torchia, research vice president with IDC's data & analytics group. "Meanwhile, digital business investments are ramping up in other industries such as the resource industries. For example, IoT is helping to improve upstream supply chain processes in agriculture, such as growing, harvesting, and delivering higher quality products to market."
From a technology perspective, IoT services will be the largest area of spending in 2023 and through the end of the forecast, accounting for nearly 40% of all IoT spending worldwide.
Hardware spending is the second largest technology category, dominated by module/sensor purchases. Software will be the fastest-growing technology category with a five-year CAGR of 11.0% and a focus on application and analytics software purchases.
Western Europe, the United States, and China will account for more than half of all IoT spending throughout the forecast.
Although Western Europe and the United States currently have similar levels of spending, Western Europe will expand its lead with an 11.0% CAGR over the 2023-2027 forecast, compared to an 8.0% CAGR for the United States.
China's IoT spending is forecast to surpass the United States by the end of the forecast due to its 13.2% CAGR.