ContentInsights10 Unified Comms Facts & Stats You Need to Know

10 Unified Comms Facts & Stats You Need to Know

As your clients and partners come to you with demand for unified communications (UC) services, it’s crucial you have the data and proof points to back up your proposition.

No longer is it satisfactory for service providers and resellers to offer a “one back to pat” or “one throat to choke” policy as their unique selling point. And with so many partners reselling what looks like the same proposition from the outside, it’s important to make your offering stand out.

With that in mind, we’ve rounded up 10 of the most compelling unified comms and cloud calling statistics for you to use in your marketing and sales cycles.

Use these to add value and credibility to your value proposition and feature lists. All we ask for in return is credit to the relevant sources.

Let’s begin a Top of the Pops-style countdown of Cavell’s top ten unified comms stats you need to know:

1. What is unified communications (UC)?

In at number 1, what is unified communications? Within technology industries we love an acronym or initialism. Whether it’s ‘UC’, ‘UCOMs’, or ‘UCaaS’ it’s critically important to understand in, a practical sense, what these terms mean. This is undoubtably the most important stat that you need to know.

So, unified communications (UC) is a effectively a marketing concept describing the integration of various communication services such as instant messaging (chat), presence information, voice (including IP telephony), mobility features, audio, web & video conferencing, fixed-mobile convergence (FMC), desktop sharing, data sharing (including web-connected electronic interactive whiteboards), call control and speech recognition with non-real-time communication services such as unified messaging (integrated voicemail, e-mail, SMS, and fax).

UC is not necessarily a single product, but a set of products that provides a consistent unified user interface and user experience across multiple devices and media types.

Voice services within UC platforms are the most important communication medium and Cavell Group’s enterprise research studies have shown that more than 90% of business across the US and Europe use telephony to communicate internally. Cavell specifically track cloud calling markets globally and define cloud calling users as those who are using a hosted or cloud-based PBX for their PSTN telephony.

For the purposes of this article Cavell is categorising a UC user as someone who uses cloud calling within their UC platform which is also procured on a subscription basis. For example, we aren’t including collaboration-only users (there are even more of those!) as they aren’t using external telephony within their solution, and therefore wouldn’t count as true UC.

2. There are 84+ million global UC users

Cavell Group has specialised in market sizing data within UC and cloud communication markets for 15 years. Every six months Cavell conducts interviews and runs surveys with service providers and communication vendors participating to understand their performance, growth, and trends that are impacting the market. The quantitative data that is shared with Cavell is then used anonymously to build market statistics, with the interviews used to collate a qualitative view on the market.

Cavell tracks business telephony data in more than 200 countries globally. When you total up the number of users across all of those countries you reach more than 84 million users that are deployed via cloud-based PBX systems, potentially within a wider UC solution. That’s a pretty big number and provides a huge existing market for UC and cloud calling solutions.

3. 18% penetration of UC into global business telephony base

The global business calling market covers more than 467 million users – those who use a fixed or mobile telephony line for their internal or external business communications. Within that overall business telephony market more than 84 million are already using UC. This means that the penetration of UC into to the overall business telephony market is roughly 18%.

The penetration of UC varies dramatically by geography, but there is still huge scope for the growth of UC on a global basis.

4. Global UC market growing at around 15% YOY

Communication and technology markets are some of the most dynamic and most rapidly developing globally. Organisations worldwide are wanting to improve their efficiency and productivity and are looking to UC solutions to help them achieve their goals with consolidated, streamlined communication platforms.

This business demand is driving rapid growth in UC uptake. If you average out the compound annual growth rates (CAGR) of all the world’s countries, you then reach a growth figure of approximately 15%. This means that every year more than 12 million new UC users are deployed around the world.

5. UC market worth more than $25 billion globally every year

The average communication and IT budget for businesses across Western Europe and the United States is more than $120,000! This obviously varies dramatically and generally correlates with the size of the business and its vertical market segment. Communications technology represent a significant proportion of these budgets and therefore presents a huge opportunity.

UC doesn’t represent all of the budget organisations spend on communications, but it’s still a significant chunk. When you total it all up the global spend on UC solutions, it is more than $25 billion every year! That’s a pretty big pie, which is growing every year, for all of the communication providers and vendors to split.

The United States is the world’s biggest and one of the most highly penetrated unified communications markets

6. The United States is the world’s biggest UC market with 39 million users

The US is the world’s 3rd largest country in terms of general population and the 3rd biggest in terms of landmass, but it does top the charts in one stat: UC. The US is by far the world’s biggest UC market with more than 39 million UC users! This dwarfs the second biggest market, the United Kingdom, that only counts a meagre 7 million users.

The UC market in the US isn’t slowing down either, it’s growing! The number of UC users in the US is growing at 9.5% CAGR and it’s growing even faster in terms of revenue at 10.1% CAGR.

There are a number of reasons behind the US’s position as a global leader. Firstly, it’s a huge potential market of more than 135 million full-time employees, but it’s also one of the world’s most advanced in terms of technology. Technology trends that start in the US often ripple round to the rest of the world. The US is also home to most of the world’s leading communication brands: Microsoft, Cisco, and Zoom were all founded in the US.

Businesses within South Korea’s technologically advanced cities are rapidly adopting unified communications technology

7. Asian UC markets growing the fastest at more than 20% CAGR

With an average global user CAGR of around 15%, UC solutions are becoming more popular all over the world. We have already seen that a huge market like the US is growing at around 10% every year, but other markets are growing even more quickly.

The world’s fastest growing UC markets are generally those that are just starting to ramp up their adoption of UC. Well-established markets like the US, the UK, and other European markets already have high levels of UC penetration into their overall business telephony bases.

Countries within Asia are now rapidly adopting UC technologies and platforms, and many countries within the regions such as Korea, Singapore, and the Philippines will experience more than 25% CAGRs across UC revenue and users.

You have all heard of Microsoft Teams as a collaboration platform. Afterall, it has more than 300 million monthly active users! But if you want to distinguish between Teams as a collaboration platform and UC platform you can look at telephony.

Microsoft Teams doesn’t include external telephony capability as standard and it has to be enabled as an add-on. So, to consider Teams as a true UC platform you have to look at how many users use the platform with telephony enabled.

Teams has more than 17 million users with telephony enabled, making it the world’s biggest UC platform. Other notable vendors in the space include Cisco Webex which has more than 10 million users and Zoom who have also enabled more 6 million of their platform users with external telephony.

9. Only 4% of organisations never plan to migrate their PBX to the cloud

There are already high levels of UC adoption into the overall business telephony base globally, particularly advanced technological markets. Cavell’s enterprise focused research from 2022 – a study of more than 1400 telecoms buyers across North America and Western Europe – showed that only 4% of those surveyed had no plans to ever move to the cloud.

Premises-based PBX solutions still formulate most of the business telephony market globally, but this data shows that over time the vast majority of the business world plans to embrace cloud-based PBX soltuions. Cloud UC solutions provide more advanced, flexible soltuions that more efficiently cater for hybrid workforces, and offer them within OPEX commerical models. There are specific cases where organisations might look to persist with premises-based soltuions particularly in heavily regulated, compliance centric industries.

Although 96% of business plan to move their PBX to the cloud at some point in the future it won’t happen overnight, 30% of organisations surveyed thought this process would take more than 2 years.

10. Huge growth to come in the 124 million user ‘mobile UC’ market

At Cavell Group we break UC down beyond the standard packages. We look at the core capabilities of any UC solution and segregate the market in that way. If a UC user is deployed via Microsoft Teams then we class them as a ‘collaboration-centric’ UC user. We also break this down by looking at mobile-enabled UC users.

Mobile unified communications represent an evolution within the realm of unified communication. Through mobile UC, mobile network operators deliver a mobility-based service within a UC platform that can improve security, boost productivity, and optimise efficiency.

Currently the mobile UC market only represents a very small proportion, less than 0.5%, of overall UC users, but this could grow massively. Many countries globally that haven’t heavily adopted UC yet are much more likely to use mobile solutions for business. This is the case across Africa and Latin America where the propensity to use mobile telephony solutions for business is much higher than in the US or Western Europe. Suitable mobile UC solutions could be extremely popular in these markets.

We are seeing much more focus on mobile UC solutions with the launch of specific products – such as Microsoft’s Teams Phone Mobile and Cisco’s Webex Go solutions.

The potential market for these new solutions is huge, with a total addressable market (TAM) of more than 124 million users globally.

Interested in learning more?

All of the information and data included in this article is drawn from Cavell Group’s proprietary reports, datasets, and models, which are trusted by the industry’s leading brands. For more details on any of the data or statistics included within this article please get in touch with Cavell team who can assist you with wider context and background.

Patrick Watson is Cavell’s Head of Research. His main area of expertise is the cloud communications industry, with a particular focus on the collaboration sector. For over ten years, Patrick has been a noteworthy member in the technology community, with a degree specialising in broadcast journalism and data analytics.