Beacons on Track to Hit 400M Deployed by 2020 Reports Unacast

  • Unacast’s Q4 Proxbook report reveals latest trends, facts and figures from the proximity industry, showing exponential growth:
  • 5m sensors now deployed globally, up 52% on Q3, 4m of which are BLE beacons:
  • On track to hit ABI Research forecast of 400m beacons installed by 2020
  • Google is eating fast into Apple’s share of beacon standards
  • Top ten proximity marketing use cases of 2015 revealed
  • New features launched to help marketers navigate proximity and support further industry growth

NEW YORK--()--Media platform Unacast, which operates the world’s largest network of beacon and proximity data, has released its Q4 Proxbook report, revealing the latest trends, facts and figures from the global proximity industry. Covering an estimated 90% of the industry and data from all the major players, is the definitive guide to proximity marketing, offering the most comprehensive and accurate information on the industry available today.

Revealing the exponential growth of the industry, the report comes in the same week that US pharmacy chain Rite Aid announced the biggest beacon deployment to date - overtaking Macy’s with installations across all +4500 of its stores - and confirms that analyst predictions for the explosion of beacon deployments are well on track. Key findings include:

  • The number of proximity sensors deployed globally has increased 52% to 5 103 500 from 3 349 000 to 3 975 500 out of those sensors are beacons, which is aligned with ABI Research’s forecast of 400 million beacons deployed by 2020
  • Google is eating into Apple, and is soon set to surpass it as the main beacon standard. Launched only six months ago, the share of Google Eddystone supporters is growing at a rapid rate to 38% of all companies in Proxbook, up from 25% in Q3 and 5% in Q2 2015. Meanwhile, the support of Apple’s iBeacon has gone down from 96% to 93%.
  • The world is being sensored up. 51% of the Proximity Solution Providers (PSPs) in Proxbook are now operating beacon networks i.e. a large number of beacons in multiple locations, which can be accessed by 3rd parties. Also, the average number of sensors per PSP continued to grow, up by 28% from 16 377 in Q3 to 20 916, indicating that proximity projects are moving from pilot to full commercial deployments.
  • The market is becoming more competitive. As the number of proximity companies increases, we are starting to see them specialise in industry verticals to differentiate themselves from competitors and optimize their solutions for a specific sector. Proxbook covers 19 industry verticals
  • PSPs are increasingly data driven. 75% of proximity companies now offer tools for analytics, up from 60% in Q3. Out of the $310.9m making up the top 10 investments into proximity companies in 2015, the primary focus is in location analytics and maximizing data
  • Europe is growing fastest: New York still leads the world as the city with the most PSPs, but Europe is growing fastest, with 46% of the industry gathered in Europe, up from 43% in Q3 versus 37% in the US, down from 41% in Q3.

Thomas Walle, Unacast co-founder and CEO said: “Despite some media commentators questioning when beacons will really take off, we now have definitive proof that this is happening right now. What excites me most about the numbers from the Q4 Proxbook report is that we are aligned with ABI Research’s latest forecast of 400 million beacons deployed by 2020, meaning we are well on our way to “sensor up” the world."

Patrick Connolly, Seniro Analyst at ABI Research added:The latest statistics from Unacast align with ABI Research’s own estimate of where the BLE Beacon market should be right now in order to achieve our longer term expectations for indoor location/proximity technologies. The latest edition of Proxbook also confirms that BLE Beacons has become the leading proximity/indoor location technology in the market today, just as the market is gathering significant momentum across a range of retail and non-retail verticals.”

The report found that one of the most common features of 2015 was that pilots increasingly entered into full scale deployments, proving that clients are seeing encouraging results from proximity marketing. The Proxbook Q4 report therefore also reveals the top 10 use cases of 2015, demonstrating the most exciting deployments from around the world, including large brands like Elle magazine, Barnes & Noble, Levis, Guess, Vince Camuto, Pizza Hut, WeChat, Target, and Chow Tai Fook.

To support increasing interest from the demand side, Unacast has added new functions to Proxbook becoming a true global hub for retailers, brands and agencies looking to get started with proximity marketing or any other location-based services. The changes include:

  • A new free consultancy feature to help clients on the demand side find a suitable proximity solution provider
  • With 50 use cases and growing, it is now possible to navigate between country, industry and application area.
  • Improved search function and absolute revamp of the design and user interface

With Business Insider predicting beacons will directly influence $40bn of retail sales in the US by the end of the year, 2016 is set to be an important year for proximity. Thomas Walle added: “I believe 2016 will be a tipping point for the proximity industry when we will see more and more large scale commercial deployments and when real shoppers start to interact more regularly with the sensors around them and experience the benefits.”

For retailers, agencies and brands, Proxbook provides a single point of access to the world of proximity, allowing them through its advanced search function, to quickly find the information they need to identify the right partner for their deployment strategies. For PSPs, Proxbook helps increase visibility and potentially increase deal flow, by outlining expertise, products, industry verticals and geographies as well as showcasing case studies. Proxbook also provides anyone interested in the proximity industry with useful explanation on how proximity works, a description of the different hardware, parts of the ecosystem and a glossary of all the terms used. In the future, Proxbook will also be a platform for cross industry products, like privacy features to increase transparency towards the end user.


Veronique Rhys Evans
+44 7545 915 590

Release Summary

Beacons on track to hit 400m by 2020. Unacast’s Q4 Proxbook report reveals latest trends, facts and figures from the global proximity industry, showing exponential growth and explosion in beacons


Veronique Rhys Evans
+44 7545 915 590