Global end-user spending on cloud-based web conferencing solutions will grow 24.3% in 2020, according to the latest forecast by Gartner Inc.
Global workplace restrictions spurred by the coronavirus pandemic will expand the cloud conferencing user base throughout 2020, but growth will taper off in 2021 as the lasting effects of a remote workforce render conferencing services commonplace.
End-user spending on cloud-based conferencing is projected to reach $4.1 billion in 2020, up from $3.3 billion in 2019. It is the second-fastest-growing category in the unified communications (UC) market, behind spending on cloud-based telephony, which is forecast to reach $16.8 billion in 2020.
Overall UC market end-user spending is projected to decline by 2.7% in 2020 and return to growth in 2021, as cloud telephony initiatives regain momentum.
“Cloud collaboration investments will buoy the UC market downturn as remote work initiatives spurred by the COVID-19 outbreak drive conferencing adoption and market growth,” said Megan Fernandez, senior principal analyst at Gartner.
Gartner predicts that by 2024, in-person meetings will account for just 25% of enterprise meetings, a drop from 60% prior to the pandemic, driven by remote work and changing workforce demographics. As a result, there is a higher demand for convenient access to videoconferencing and other collaboration tools.
Cloud telephony adoption
In 2020, new premises-based telephony investments will drop sharply as existing installed telephony system life spans are stretched and investment priorities shift to the cloud.
“Cloud telephony adoption will experience a ‘push and pull’ from competing market pressures,” said Fernandez. “Overall, the market will be negatively impacted by organizations that were planning near-term premises to cloud migrations but are now extending legacy life spans instead.”
However, cloud telephony will experience a boost once its benefits are recognized, namely the ease at which it can accommodate a changing workforce, update and extend existing features, and integrate with adjacent applications.
The cloud telephony market is projected to grow by 8.9% in 2020 and 17.8% in 2021.
“As a result of workers employing remote work practices in response to COVID-19 office closures, there will be some long-term shifts in conferencing solution usage patterns. Policies established to enable remote work and experience gained with conferencing service usage during the outbreak is anticipated to have a lasting impact on collaboration adoption,” said Fernandez.