The mobile revolution is nothing new. With over 2 billion smartphone users worldwide – a figure that will only increase in the upcoming years – it’s safe to say that most people that own a mobile device own a smartphone.
This has changed our lives in many ways, from allowing us to consume news and entertainment in the palm of our hands to making it possible to talk to anyone across the world in a matter of seconds, but perhaps the biggest impact is how we use the internet.
For as long as the internet has been used, the main source of web browsing was through a desktop computer. Laptops would eventually become widespread too, making it even easier to browse the web on the move, although they were still limited in how small the can operate.
Now, smartphones and tablets have changed the game. While their popularity has been slowly on the rise since 2009, their recent affordability and compatibility has sales skyrocket, leading to a changing of the guard in how the internet is consumed In 2016, mobile web browsing outperformed desktop browsing for the first time ever. Global mobile and tablet browsing accounted for 51.3% of all browsing, with desktop’s share falling to just 48.7%.
The figures were announced by web analytics company StatCounter, whose chief executive believes is a wake-up call for businesses.
“This should be a wakeup call especially for small businesses, sole traders and professionals to make sure that their websites are mobile friendly. Many older websites are not.” Aodhan Cullen explains.
“Mobile compatibility is increasingly important not just because of growing traffic but because Google favours mobile-friendly websites for its mobile search results.”
While these figures are certainly eye-opening, the desktop computer isn’t entirely dethroned – yet at least. When browsing habits are broken down into smaller areas, desktop computers still account for the majority of browsing in many locations.
For example, here in the UK, desktop browsing still makes up 55.6% of all browsing. IN the US it’s even higher at 58%, while Australia also hovers around 55% for desktop browsing.
However, with the increased availability of smartphones and the fact that more web designers and developers are focusing on mobile optimisation, it is only a matter of time before mobile browsing overtakes desktop for good.
Google itself was ahead of the curve, identifying this upcoming trend several years ago. They have now contributed to the changing trends themselves, having made notable changes to its search engine by favouring mobile-friendly websites.