NEW YORK: Mobile marketing expenditure is likely to reach nearly $20bn in the US by 2015, almost tripling the spending levels recorded by this channel last year, a report has predicted.

The study was commissioned by the Mobile Marketing Association and presented at the MMA New York Forum. It stated that brands and retailers spent $6.7bn on mobile marketing - including ads, direct response and CRM - in 2012, a figure projected to stand at $19.8bn by 2015.

Mobile media advertising - incorporating voice, messaging, web, email, apps proximity and recognition-based formats - was expected to remain the largest single recipient of these resources, taking $9.2bn by 2015, followed by mobile CRM on $7.7bn.

But expenditure on mobile direct response advertising and mobile enhancements within non-mobile media is in line to record the fastest growth, expanding fourfold between 2012 and 2015, to $2.9bn overall.

Just three industries – finance, retail (excluding CPG) and manufacturing (excluding CPG) – accounted for around half of total mobile marketing expenditure in 2012.

But the fastest-growing sectors going forward should be the resources industry (agriculture, mining, utilities and construction), followed by manufacturing (excluding CPG) and educational services.

More broadly, it was calculated that the entire mobile marketing ecosystem contributed an incremental $139bn to the US economy in 2012, a figure due to hit $401bn by 2015.

In addition, it was argued that most of the sales impact, at least 85%, took place in physical stores rather than online.

"Results from this study prove that mobile should not be underestimated as an economic stimulator," said Greg Stuart, chief executive of the MMA.

"The health of the US economy depends on platforms like mobile that offer unlimited potential for growth and innovation," he added. "No other media will evolve at this pace with unforeseen opportunities to reimagine the user experience."

Indeed, the report anticipated that a "mobile marketing enhanced economy" would emerge, where, for example, the adoption of a simple parking app in major cities would save drivers' time while cutting gasoline costs and air pollution.

"Even in its infancy, mobile has irrevocably transformed society," said Peter Johnson, PhD., who co-authored the study with Joseph Plummer, PhD of mLightenment.

"With the introduction of new technology to increased accessibility and connectivity, mobile has the ability to reinvent itself and remain indispensable to the consumer and marketer relationship."

Warc's in-depth report from the MMA New York Forum will be available soon.

Data sourced from MMA; additional content by Warc staff