International Data Corporation (IDC) has released the latest results from its Worldwide Semiannual CRM Applications Tracker. The Tracker monitors more than 190 CRM vendors (global and local) across a total of 49 countries globally. Information provided include biannual market size, vendor share, and forecast data for the four functional markets – marketing automation, sales automation, customer service, and contact centre – that comprise the CRM applications market.

The second half of 2011 experienced slightly slower revenue growth than the first half. Despite this slowing, the overall CRM applications market still managed to achieve a year-over-year growth rate of 11,2% for the full year.

Of the four functional markets, marketing automation, sales automation, and customer service experienced double-digit growth in 2011, as expected. Contact centre applications, on the other hand, grew at a single-digit rate losing almost 1.4% of market share.

Although the contact centre market is forecast to maintain a positive growth rate over the 2012-2016 forecast period, the trend of losing market share is also forecast to continue, with contact centre applications expected to lose an additional 3.4% through 2016.

From a geographic perspective, the Americas and Japan performed better in the second half of the year than the rest of the regions. Meanwhile, the emerging regions (CEMA, Latin America and Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan)) gained 0,7% of market share compared to 2010. The latter trend is likely to continue in the upcoming years driven by countries such as Russia, India, China and most of Latin America and the Middle East and Africa (MEA).

“The CRM applications market is poised on the threshold of a transformation with legacy installations being transformed into socially-aware applications environments. Early movement has been observed for the last several years. An influx of new social vendors and acquisitions of social CRM applications providers by established vendors augmenting their offerings for rapid market entry is invigorating the market. The activity is expected to continue through 2012 and is bringing net-new revenue to the space,” says Mary Wardley, program vice-president, CRM Applications.

The competitive scenario for the worldwide CRM applications market is becoming decidedly more interesting. The top the vendors are closer than ever with just one percentage point or less separating the leaders. One area of differentiation among the leaders is the geographic basis upon which their global market shares are built. While Oracle holds the lead in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), is very strong in North America and Japan. And SAP is the established leader in EMEA and Latin America.

The top 10 vendors made up 49% of the CRM applications market in 2011, gaining 0,8% compared to 2010. IBM broke into the top 10 list for the first time in 2011 with double-digit year-over-year growth. Other top-growing vendors among the top 10 were SAP,, and NICE Systems. SAS, Adobe, Microsoft, Nuance Communications, RightNow Technologies Inc., Interactive Intelligence, and LivePerson were all among the top 25 CRM Applications vendors.