Consumer mobility in India and China is flowing into enterprises. Recent Forrester survey data shows that nearly three in five IT execs and technology decision-makers in these countries — 58% in India and 57% in China — plan to increase their spending on mobile software (including applications and middleware) in 2014.

India has leapfrogged Australia/New Zealand and now leads the Asia Pacific region in terms of expected mobile software spending growth. China has made the biggest move over the past year, jumping from eighth place to second.

We believe that the high growth in mobile software spending in India and China is primarily due to:

  • More affordable smartphones and wireless broadband. Cutthroat competition among handset manufacturers — both internationals like Apple and Samsung and locals like Xiaomi and Micromax — is pushing the average selling price of smartphones below US$250. Xiaomi sold more than 200,000 smartphones in under 3 minutes as part of Alibaba’s Single’s Day sale; Indian mobile operators Vodafone and Idea cut their 2G data tariffs by 80% and 90%, respectively. The proliferation of Internet-connected smart devices along the entire supply chain — employees, customers, and business partners — is encouraging companies to build mobile apps.
  • Burgeoning m-commerce boosting mobile app usage. The value of purchases made through mobile devices on China’s Taobao Marketplace and increased 600% in 2012. And one-fifth of the 171 million orders worth $5.7 billion placed with Alibaba on Single’s Day were made through mobile phones, a jump from 5% in 2011. By 2015 in India, m-commerce will account for more than 25% of total eCommerce traffic. This highlights the latent demand for enterprise mobile apps, especially among consumers.

As mobile devices increasingly empower individuals, it’s critical for I&O professionals, their CIOs, and relevant business leaders to develop context-aware mobile apps built on systems of engagement to seamlessly connect with employees, customers, and business partners. They can’t achieve this by building one-off apps, but must prepare an application development road map with user experience at its core. Those apps will help organizations achieve their strategic business objectives. Most organizations will need to shift their development approach from “PC-only” to “mobile first, then PC”.