For the first time ever, internet usage on mobile and tablet devices surpassed desktops on a worldwide basis in October, according to web analytics company StatCounter.
In a press release, StatCounter’s research arm, StatCounter Global Stats, found mobile and tablet devices accounted for 51.3 percent of internet usage worldwide in October compared to 48.7 percent by desktop. “This should be a wake-up call, especially for small businesses, sole traders and professionals, to make sure that their websites are mobile-friendly. Many older websites are not,” commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCounter, in the release announcing the results. “Mobile compatibility is increasingly important, not just because of growing traffic but because Google favors mobile-friendly websites for its mobile search results.”
While mobile devices are seeing rapid growth, in terms of internet usage in mature markets, like the U.S. and U.K., desktops still trump mobile. That may change, noted Cullen. “Post-Brexit, U.K. businesses should be aware, as they look to increase trade outside the EU, that India, for example, has over 75 percent internet usage through mobile devices,” he said, noting that, in the U.K., desktop accounts for 55.6 percent of internet usage, with mobile and tablets at 44.4 percent. In the U.S., desktop still accounts for 58 percent of internet usage compared to 42 percent for mobile and tablets.
The research report meshes with other reports that show, for example, in India, smartphone users are expected to number 244 million in 2017, surpassing the number of smartphone users in the U.S. But if you peel back the onion, they are using mobile internet for research and surfing the web and less for buying things and making mobile payments. For many Indians, a study by Ericsson found, smartphones are their only access to the internet because they are cheaper than a personal computer.