51 Mobile vs. Desktop Usage Statistics For 2021

The mobile vs. desktop discussion is one of the most relevant ones in our current times. It doesn’t just affect consumers and how they get to consume content, shop, or interact socially but also has a bearing on how the all-important marketing moolah gets spent.

While it is a well-known fact that, driven by better devices and the availability of faster internet on the go, internet traffic is increasingly being driven through mobile devices, there are several pertinent aspects of this debate that might be new information to even the most seasoned marketers and tech experts.

2021 Mobile vs. Desktop Usage Insights

  • Over the course of one year, mobile users share increased by over 10%.
  • Mobile vs desktop usage stats in 2021 reveal 50% B2B inquiries were made on mobile last year.
  • Social media takes 25% of all digital media consumption and it is mainly accessed on mobile.
  • In 2020, US adults spent 4 hours per day on their mobile phones.
  • In 2021, mobile phones generate 54.25% of the traffic, desktops – 42.9%.
  • 55% of page views in 2021 come from mobile phones.
  • More than half of all video views come from mobile devices.
  • Phone-based CPCs cost 24% less than desktop and have a 40% higher CTR.
  • Mobile apps have higher engagement rates than mobile-optimized websites or desktop web viewing.

To help you get up-to-date with all the pertinent information you need, we at TechJury have put together 50+ key data points.

  • Over the course of one year, mobile users share increased by over 10%

In the course of one year, desktop internet usage dropped from 54.86% to 48.88% while mobile users share marked an increase from 37.38% to 47.59% in 2021.

  • Millennials spend 3 hours and 45 minutes browsing on their mobile devices

Internet users aged 25-34 spend 3 hours and 45 minutes browsing on their mobile devices.

  • There are over 4 billion unique mobile internet users

The global internet population reached 4,48 billion active users with over 4 billion people browsing on their mobile devices. That said, let’s check out the latest data regarding desktop vs mobile usage.

Mobile vs Desktop Usage in 2021

These days, most internet traffic is mobile, most B2B inquiries are made through mobile. Social media consumption also tends to happen mostly on mobile. Nevertheless, there still appears to be a place for the desktop, or so the mobile vs desktop usage statistics in 2021 indicate.

1. Mobile usage vs desktop usage comparison shows that 58% of all multi-device purchases use mobile to close the sale.

(Source: Merchant Savvy)

Desktop plays an important role here, too. After all, browsing a site is much easier on a bigger screen.

2. 47.59% of traffic is mobile and 48.88% is desktop.

(Source: statcounter)

According to stats surrounding mobile traffic vs desktop traffic in 2021, most internet traffic still comes from desktop devices – 48.88%. 47.59% comes from smartphones. Tablets currently have the least traffic, at about 3%.

3. Mobile vs desktop usage stats reveal 50% B2B inquiries were made on mobile in 2020.

(Source: Smart Insights)

At the moment 50% of all B2B inquiries are made through smartphones. In 2020, as many as 70% of all B2B inquiries were made through smartphones, according to B2B mobile vs desktop data.

4. American adults spent 4 hours daily on their cell phones in 2020.

(Source: eMarketer)

On average, adults in the United States spent 4 hours per day on their mobile phones last year

That’s not all:

According to mobile phone usage statistics, of that time, 3 ½ hours went to mobile apps, which was 25 minutes more than it was in 2019. 

Experts predict that number will keep going up in 2021 due to the pandemic.

5. Fixed internet is 29.2 Mbps faster than mobile internet connection speed.

(Source: DATAREPORTAL)

Fixed internet connection speeds (i.e. the ones used for desktops) are higher than mobile. For desktop, it’s 54.3 Mbps, whereas mobile connections are 25.1 Mbps. This means that fixed internet is leading with 29.2 Mbps, which explains why time spent on desktop sites is higher than mobile.

6. Social media takes 25% of all digital media consumption and it is mainly accessed on mobile.

(Source: Riptide Web)

In other words, out of every 5 minutes we spend consuming digital content, 1 minute of that time is spent on social media. And that is mainly done on mobile, or so the mobile vs desktop social media usage stats tell us.

General Mobile vs. Desktop Internet Usage Statistics

Mobile devices are now the leading source of internet traffic in the US. People are spending more and more time staring at their smartphones.

7. About 50% of internet traffic comes from mobile phones.

(Source: Statista)

In Q1 of 2021, mobile devices were responsible for almost half of the internet traffic on the globe. Note that the percentage excludes tablets. That has been consistent for the last few years (since 2017).

Most economies skipped desktop usage due to their high costs, and straight to smartphones which were cheaper- the reason the gadgets rule the internet. Examples of such countries include India, Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria. 

8. In 2021, consumer usage of mobile phones has gone up by 24.5%.

(Source: Oberlo)

Mobile vs. desktop usage stats show that the time consumers spend on mobile phones has gone up by nearly 25% in five years. In 2016, the time was 188 minutes, now it has jumped by 55 minutes.

Mobile ecommerce sales shares have also risen to 72.9%. That’s a 39% increase compared to 2016.

9. Mobile bounce rate dropped to 0.2% by Q4 of 2020.

(Source: Semrush)

As more webpreneurs continue to make their websites user-friendly, the bounce rate of the devices is decreasing

In 2018, it was 3% higher than that of desktops. Mobile-focused sites are improving user experience, hence no need to leave websites, decreasing the bounce rate quickly. 

10. Mobile’s share in total page views in the US breached the 50% mark back in 2017.

(Source: Statista)

From a total of 7.8 trillion page views in 2017 in the US, web traffic comparison showed that mobile accounted for 53%. The corresponding figure in 2016, based on a total of 6.9 trillion page views, was 41%. This is a significant milestone for mobile usage in its increasing domination of online traffic.

11. More than half of the people worldwide access the internet using mobile devices, while only 49% do so via desktops.

(Source: Stat Counter)

The percentage is up by 2% compared to 2020. Africa had the highest mobile usage with 70%, Asia came second with 63% and Europe third with 51%. 

12. There are over 4 billion unique mobile internet users.

(Source: Statista)

That’s more than half of the globe’s population!

But there’s more!

13. Between 2016 and 2021, global mobile traffic will grow by 46%.

(Source: Cisco, Future of Earth)

Mobile statistics show that traffic will grow 3-fold from 2016 to Q4 of 2021. In 2018, it was at 14.6 Exabytes but will reach 48.3 Exabytes by the end of the period.

14. 65% of all digital media time is spent on mobile devices.

(Source: Business2Community)

The break-up of this digital media time across content categories is equally interesting. According to the infographic, there are some categories, like social networking surprisingly, where the share of desktop continues to be substantial. Mobile devices score in categories like business/finance and entertainment/news.

15. The mobile market share is higher than that of desktops by 13%.

(Source: Broadband Search)

Mobile vs. desktop usage stats show people are favoring mobile. In February 2021, the market share for portable gadgets was a bit under 55%, while that of desktops was about 42%. Tablets got about 3%.

16. In 2020, users spent an average of 16.7 minutes on desktops and only 10.4 secs on mobile.

(Source: Broadband Search)

Users spent 16 minutes on average while browsing websites in 2020 on desktops. In contrast, people only spent around 10 minutes visiting sites using their phones during the same year. 

Experts, however, caution that time should not be an indicator that people enjoy browsing more on desktops. It could be that loading time on mobile is much faster, seeing that many website owners are putting a lot of effort into optimizing them. 

Mobile vs. Desktop Search Statistics

Not only do users view more content through their smartphones. They are increasingly using mobile devices to search for information.

17. What percentage of searches are mobile device-based? 58%, according to Google.

(Source: Hitwise)

Official Google statements have already confirmed in the past that more than half of all search queries globally originate from mobile devices. A recent report from Hitwise provides more information, including industry-wide analysis of search volumes, to show that nearly 58% of searches now come from mobile devices.

18. In 2021, more than 50% of page views are coming from cell phones.

(Source: Statista) 

Mobile phones are becoming increasingly popular for accessing the internet. 

According to mobile browsing stats, 55% of page views are from portable devices, which is likely to be the trend in the coming years.

19. The mobile search ad revenue in the USA is expected to reach $21.55B in 2022.

(Source: Statista)

The mobile search ad revenue in the U.S. is expected to grow from $8.97 billion in 2015 to $21.55 billion in 2022. In the process, it will go past the U.S. desktop search ad revenue, which is expected to be at $19.8 billion in 2022.

20. Mobile search advertising spending in the USA grew to $37.43B in 2020.

(Source: Statista)

The timeline presents the search advertising spending in the U.S. in 2014 and a forecast until 2019, broken down by device. According to the source, expenditures on mobile search advertising grew from $14.17 billion in 2015 to $37.43 billion in 2020.

21. 79% of keywords overall and 47% of keywords in positions 1-20 rank differently in search on mobile and desktop SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

(Source: BrightEdge)

This is a clear indication that, if you value mobile traffic over desktop, you need to have clear SEO and content strategy for it. Just making your website mobile-responsive is not enough to consider it mobile-optimized. As a marketer, there are a number of strategies you can employ to understand better what your on-the-go visitors need and provide the right content in the best format for them.

22. 35% of the time the first page that ranks for a domain on a query is different on mobile and desktop SERP (Search Engine Results Pages).

(Source: BrightEdge)

The search results on mobile and desktop can be so different that as many as 35% of the results will have a different page at the top ranking for the same query depending on the device you are on. Considering that a major aspect of the SEO game is to rank at the top of search engine results, this stat makes it clear how strategies need to be adapted for the platform you are targeting.

23. 62% of organic searches display different results on desktop vs. mobile.

(Source: BrightEdge)

The difference in the top ranking results discussed above becomes even wider when all the search results are considered. More than 6 of the top 10 results are likely to be different between the desktop and the mobile.

24. In 2021, people spend 2 hours and 23 minutes browsing the internet on their mobile phones.

(Source: Tech Price Crunch)

Mobile vs. desktop usage stats show that we spend 143 minutes surfing the internet on our cell phones. In contrast, desktop users will only spend about 35 minutes on the same. 

Mobile internet use has been on an upward trend while that of desktops has been decreasing. Phones are more accessible and convenient to carry around; hence, people can use them for browsing from practically anywhere.  

25. 0nly 17% of sites retained their position on desktop and mobile SERPS in 2020.

(Source: SemRush)

SemRush analyzed 50,000 most popular sites by the United States search queries.

Less than 20% of the websites retained the same position on both mobile and desktop. Of the percentage, only 11% had the same SERP ranking on a keyword level.

Even more shocking: 33% of URLs disappeared from Google search results on mobile. In addition, 8% of domains also fell off the face of the mobile search universe. 

Mobile vs. Desktop Email and Video Statistics

If video content is king, then mobile devices are the king’s carriage of choice. People prefer to watch videos on their smartphones and tablets.

26. By Q4 of 2021, mobile video viewers will be about 2.33 billion.

(Source: Statista)

Back in 2016, 1.43 billion people were watching videos on mobile. That number increased by 0.24 billion, compared to 2015 data. Predictions show that figure will have doubled by the end of 2021, reaching 2.33 billion

27. More than 70% of YouTube viewing happens on mobile devices.

(Source: Comscore)

YouTube mobile vs. desktop usage figures show that mobile devices have won this battle hands down. Almost three-fourths of all content on the video-sharing platform is seen on mobile devices.

28. Of the top 50 YouTube channels, each channel on average extended its desktop audience reach by 218% after including consumption on mobile devices.

(Source: Comscore)

Content producers and brands are benefiting from offering videos on smartphones and tablets. The introduction of consumption on mobile devices has helped them more than triple their reach.

29. Google found that video ad viewability was significantly higher among mobile users (83%) than desktop (53%).

(Source: Business2Community)

Mobile vs. desktop usage stats on video viewing show mobile users are watching more video ads than desktop users, making the former an important audience that you should never exclude in your campaigns. The higher video ad viewability on mobile devices is partly thanks to desktop ad blockers and partly because mobile viewers are watching the videos longer.

Mobile vs. Desktop Social Media Statistics

Smartphones have such a huge impact on internet usage that social media like Facebook are becoming more and more mobile-centric.

30. 80% of social media browsing is on mobile devices.

(Source: Smart Insights, Marketing Land)

Roughly 1 in 5 minutes of all digital media time is spent on social media sites or apps. Mobile devices, including both smartphones and tablets, account for 80% of the time spent by users worldwide on social media. Desktop’s share in this category has fallen significantly in the last few years.

31. In 2021, 98.3% of users on Facebook accessed it via smartphones.

(Source: Oberlo)

According to mobile vs. desktop usage statistics for 2021, almost all Facebook users accessed it via a portable device. That is up 2% compared to 2017.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise, bearing in mind that the amount of work the company has put towards mobile accessibility. It has multiple apps for the devices giving it an advantage compared to its competitors.

32. 86% of the time users spend on Twitter is on a mobile device.

(Source: Wall Street Journal)

Already by 2014, 86% of the time Twitter users spent on the platform was happening on a mobile device. The nature of the network, with quick reading or writing of messages, makes it particularly well suited for consumption over mobile devices on the go.

33. 80% of Pinterest users accessed the network through a mobile device in 2016.

(Source: Pinterest)

Like most other major social media platforms, traffic on Pinterest has also shifted to mobile devices in a big way. Four-fifths of Pinterest’s traffic now comes from mobile devices, and this share continues to grow.

34. 57% of LinkedIn traffic comes from mobile in 2021. 

(Source: Hootsuite)

If you think LinkedIn users are likely to access the site via desktops since it’s a professional network – you’re wrong. People mostly use it to search for jobs and network with other professionals; hence might only use it during their spare time through their mobile phones. 

In the last few years, the network has been working hard to be a mobile-first company. In 2021, nearly 60% of its traffic is coming from mobile devices.  

Mobile vs. Desktop Ecommerce Statistics

35. Average smartphone conversion rates are up 64% compared to the average desktop conversion rates.

(Source:  Formstack)

A key aspect regarding mobile vs. desktop search is that when a user picks up a smartphone to perform a search, he or she generally has a very specific end-goal in mind. Companies can benefit from this by providing a well-defined call-to-action button. Marketers can also improve their mobile conversions by simplifying and streamlining the content they present to their users.

36. According to the Adobe Digital Index retail report, the retail conversion rate is 3 times higher for desktop than it is for smartphones.

(Source: Smart Insights)

The retail conversion rate for desktops is around 3.7 to 4% while the conversion rate for smartphones was around 1.25 to 1.34%. This shows that smartphones are used more often to research products while the final purchase is still left for the desktop in most cases. Providing useful, personalized content on their mobile sites can help retailers influence the final purchase decision of the users.

37. 46% of adults prefer to use their mobile devices to search for items before purchasing them over their desktop or laptops.

(Source: Facebook IQ)

Phones are becoming a complement to brick-and-mortar stores. In a study of more than 2,400 omni-channel shoppers, 46% of those who researched product ratings or reviews before buying them offline do so on mobile phones. Of those who compared prices prior to buying offline, 36% did so on a mobile device. And 51% researched a product on mobile while in-store.

38. Mobile commerce made up 45% of total US e-commerce sales or $284 billion in 2020.

(Source: Business Insider)

In 2014, mobile comprised 11.6% of the $303 billion value of e-commerce sales in the US. Mcommerce vs. ecommerce statistics show that this share rose to 45% in 2020. Note that apart from the increased share, the overall pie will also be much larger – about $632 billion by some estimates.

39. Categories with the highest mobile share of purchases are also the ones with the most rapid-e-commerce growth.

(Source: Comscore)

Mobile purchases tend to be higher for relatively cheap and low consideration products such as video games, movies, and digital content, and lower for more expensive categories such as computer hardware. An interesting feature of mobile vs. desktop usage stats is that mobile may be enabling the purchase of products that were previously less likely to be purchased online altogether. Eliminating the friction of buying on mobile (smaller screens, privacy concerns, etc.) is critical for retailers.

40. Mobile users are 39% less likely to book a flight online.

(Source: PhocusWire)

According to an analysis by the UK-based metasearch engine Skyscanner, mobile users are 39% less likely to book a flight online despite the fact that mobile has a bigger share in the overall traffic to Skyscanner.

41. Users are 31% more likely to complete a purchase or form-fill when their mobile device has a larger screen.

(Source: Mobile Marketer)

Showing that user experience is a critical factor in consumer mobile web usage, this study found that compared to clicks from the same ad displayed on a desktop, tablet clicks convert 86% as often, large-screen phone clicks convert 63% as often, and small-screen phone clicks convert 48% as often. It is fair to expect that mobile conversion rates will increase as the user experience improves.

42. 90% of customers expect consistent interactions across channels.

(Source: V12 Data)

Given the high number of shoppers who use their mobile devices to research possible items before purchasing them as well as those who visit stores to evaluate products before ordering them online, the most successful marketers will have to ensure a consistent customer experience across channels and devices.

43. 98% of Americans switch between devices on the same day.

(Source: Mobile Payments Today)

According to research from Google on mobile vs. desktop usage, 98% of Americans switch between devices within the same day. This includes people who move across devices before completing an online purchase. Businesses need to deliver the same feel and structure to make sure that these interrupted transactions are completed as seamlessly as possible on the next device.

44. 86% of shoppers use at least 2 channels when shopping.

(Source: CommerceHub)

This channel-hopping is not limited to shoppers in the US or other developed economies. The channel-hopping consumer is to be found everywhere. With 86% of shoppers around the world shopping on at least 2 channels now, channel-hopping is reality retailers and brands will have to come to terms with.

45. 12% of users think their phone loading is faster than their desktop; 21% think it’s equal.

(Source: Kissmetrics)

Mobile internet users expect a web-browsing experience on their phones that is comparable to what they get on their desktop. Most phone internet users (67%) seem to think that their phones have much slower, a bit slower, or almost as fast load times compared to their desktops.

46. 64% of smartphone users expect pages to load faster than they load on the desktop.

(Source: Radware)

The previous point ties in with another study on mobile vs. desktop usage in which 64% of smartphone users said that they actually expect the load times of web pages to be faster on their phones than on their desktops. The learning for marketers is to keep the content of their mobile-optimized sites crisp and light. According to the same study, 85% of mobile users expect pages to load as fast as they load on the desktop.

47. 53% of mobile website visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 sec to load.

(Source: Marketing Dive)

Data from Google shows that mobile speeds matter. Users do not have the patience for mediocre performance and can be brutal if they feel their time is being wasted. If your mobile site takes longer than 3 seconds to load, you are likely to lose more than half of your potential customers.

48. 40% of users are likely to abandon a desktop site if it doesn’t load within 3 sec.

(Source: Neil Patel)

This impatience with slow loading speeds is seen on desktops, too. Almost 40% of users expect pages to load within 3 seconds on desktops and would abandon the site otherwise. Studies have shown that just a 1-second delay in webpage loading can result in a 7% decline in conversion. In fact, 75% of users won’t return to a webpage if it takes more than 4 seconds to load.

49. The abandonment rate for mobile shopping carts is 97%, compared to 70-75% for desktop carts.

(Source: Radware)

Slow loading pages are one of the main reasons for the abandonment of shopping carts. But mobile device usage statistics show that mobile users tend to be slightly more impatient than desktop users. Of course, other reasons like not being comfortable spending on a mobile device or an inconvenient checkout process could also be responsible for the higher abandonment rates.

50. Phone-based CPCs (Cost Per Clicks) cost 24% less than desktop and have a 40% higher CTR (Click-through Rate).

(Source: Aum)

Advertising on mobile appears to be a more cost-effective option for marketers. With a lower cost per click getting you a significantly higher click-through as compared to desktops, it is no wonder that mobile devices already account for more than 50% of all paid-search clicks.

51. Mobile apps have higher engagement rates than mobile-optimized websites or desktop web viewing, and 100-300% higher conversion rates.

(Source: CleverTap)

While it helps to have mobile-optimized websites, according to the recent mobile app vs. mobile website statistics, when it comes to user engagement and conversion, mobile apps beat even an efficiently optimized website. With a difference in conversion rates of almost 300%, it is obvious that investing in a useful app can help you reap substantial benefits in the long run.

Key Takeaways From Mobile vs. Desktop Statistics 2021

  • More than half of the internet traffic worldwide is driven through mobile devices, with current trends indicating mobile share to further increase to as high as 80%.
  • This trend is not limited to any one segment of the internet. Search volumes, social media network access, ecommerce revenues, all show a continuous shift towards mobile in comparison to desktop.
  • This makes it imperative that marketers have a clearly defined strategy for mobile users. Merely making your website responsive for smartphones and tablets is not going to be enough.
  • Users demand a mobile-optimized experience, and your SEO and content strategy will have to reflect this if you want to be on the winning side of the mobile vs. desktop usage story.

FAQ

What percent of web traffic is mobile?

According to mobile vs desktop usage reports, 50.48% of web traffic is mobile.

How many people use desktops?

The current market share for desktops is 46.67%

What percentage of Google searches are done on mobile devices?

More than 50%.

What is the difference between a desktop website and a mobile website?

There are three types of design sites:

  • Responsive design websites – These refer to one website version that looks good on both mobile and desktop devices. They adjust automatically to all screen sizes.
  • Desktop websites are designed specifically for desktop devices and aren’t optimized for mobile ones.
  • Mobile-dedicated websites, as the name suggests, are designed specifically for mobile devices.

 

ABOUT AUTHOR

Tech has revolutionized the way we live, communicate, and create value. With TechJury, I found a way to help users find detailed, unbiased information about all things technology.

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