The combined worldwide market for both consumer digital hardware and digital media content has been predicted to rise to a value of $2.1tr by the end of this year, and to $2.7tr by 2016.

The predictions are contained in a new report from independent media research organisation, Gartner, and cover digital equipment such as smartphones, tablets and PCs, as well as apps, e-magazines and net-based news channels.

The report emphasises the unprecedented magnitude of this anticipated growth by pointing out that 2012’s total will be $114bn higher than that for 2011. Each subsequent year’s expected increase, up to and including 2016, will be $130bn more than the previous year’s total.

Gartner says that the largest share of digital consumer spend is likely to be on mobile phones, predicted to account for 10 per cent of digital consumer spend – or $222bn – by the end of 2012. This figure, says Gartner, should rise to nearly $300bn within five years.

In terms of content, Gartner predicts that entertainment such as satellite channels and gaming via the web will account for $290bn by 2016.

Commenting on what Gartner sees as a key reason why revenues from the consumer digital content market are likely to be high, one of the organisation’s analysts, Amanda Sabia, said:

‘Our research consistently shows that consumers are willing to pay for content they deem worth it.’

Sabia added, however, that securing revenues through advertising was also acceptable to consumers provided incentives were offered in return – such as free music downloads or free cloud storage facilities.