Key insights at a glance


Strong US performance will underpin 3.7% CAGR growth in global total business-to-business (B2B) revenue. Global total B2B revenue is forecast to reach US$232.41bn in 2019, rising from US$193.94bn in 2014. This will be fuelled by the US, which will account for 44.7% of global total B2B revenue in 2019. China, India and Indonesia will all see notable growth, rising at CAGRs of 6.1%, 7.2% and 8.4% respectively.


The drive for big data will help business information become the fastest-growing sub-segment. Global total business information revenue will reach US$126.59bn in 2019, from a little under US$100bn in 2014. The increased volume and complexity of data produced by social media platforms, online surveys and smartphone usage is driving investment in big data analytics as firms try to turn information into actionable strategy.


Directories will suffer a decline, but year-on-year falls will reduce through to 2019. Global total directory advertising revenue will fall at a -0.8% CAGR to US$20.91bn in 2019, from US$21.77bn in 2014, as advertisers continue to abandon print editions and digital growth fails to compensate. Nevertheless, a year-on-year fall of just -0.2% in 2019 points to a return to growth beyond the forecast period.


The shift to digital publications will accelerate. Taken as a whole, the digital elements of total directory advertising revenue, total trade magazine revenue and total professional books revenue will almost reach parity with their print equivalents in 2019, a rise of more than 17 percentage points from 2014. Digital versions offer wider coverage at a lower cost for businesses, with print markets experiencing a decline as a result. However, only directory advertising will have majority digital revenue in 2019.


Trade shows will strengthen their position as the second-largest contributor to total B2B revenue. The continued demand for face-to-face interaction, debate and networking will see overall attendance at trade shows expand strongly. Widespread investment in expanding venue capacity will push global trade shows revenue to US$39.99bn by 2019, up from US$31.83bn in 2014 at a 4.7% CAGR.


Soaring mobile Internet and tablet penetration will boost consumer interaction and research opportunities. Businesses and consumers alike require information on the move, while digital publications and social media provide increased interaction and brand-building potential. Global mobile Internet penetration is forecast to rise from 35.1% in 2014 to 58.5% in 2019, while tablet penetration will surge upwards from 7.4% to 24.4% over the same period—a trend that will provide growth potential in the B2B segment.

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