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. You should also have in mind that:
- 51% of the time spent online in the US is on mobile devices
- Nearly 80% of internet usage is expected to have been mobile in 2018
- Mobile market share worldwide is 52.1% compared to desktop market share of 44.2%.
- 40% of people search only on a smartphone
- 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 on this topic in 2019, we at TechJury have put together 52 key data points. As always, for easy reading, these are divided into clear sections like overall internet usage, search, e-commerce, and social media.
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.
1. 63% of all US online traffic comes from smartphones and tablets.
(Source: Stone Temple)
This traffic share is based on a total of 2 trillion site visits in 2017. This is a significant increase from 57% of 1.9 trillion site visits in 2016. The recent rate of growth of mobile traffic also suggests that its share will have reached two-thirds by the end of 2018.
2. 51% of the time spent online in the US is on mobile devices.
(Source: Stone Temple)
This is based on a total time of 513 trillion visit-seconds in 2017. It is an increase over the 40% figure for 2016 (from a total of 476 trillion visit-seconds). Considering that mobile’s share is lower here than in the case of overall traffic, the average time people spend at a site on a desktop device is higher than they do on a mobile device. Even this gap in mobile vs. desktop usage seems to be narrowing, though.
3. Average mobile bounce rate is around 45%, while the corresponding figure for desktop is 38%.
(Source: Stone Temple)
While the figure is better for desktop, what is worth noting is that the figure for mobile has come down from around 52% in 2016. The bounce rate for desktop, on the other hand, has hovered around 38%. This means that the mobile experience is either improving or users are getting more comfortable with it (or both).
4. Mobile’s share in total page views in the US breached the 50% mark in 2016-2017.
(Source: Stone Temple)
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.
5.Average page views per visit in the US increased by 21% for mobile in 2016-2017.
(Source: Stone Temple)
The average page per views per visit remained flat for desktop. This is an indication that users of all kinds are getting more comfortable with the browsing experience on mobile devices. This trend is expected to continue over the next few years, even though the importance of desktop cannot be written off completely.
6. 52.2% of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones in 2018.
This was up from 50.3% the previous year. Mobile’s share of internet traffic was over 65% in Asia and nearly 60% in Africa. What percentage of internet traffic is mobile is also decided by how strong the alternative infrastructure is. The figures for Asia and Africa are not surprising as the smartphone market has seen tremendous growth in many emerging economies, and mobile often provides a more viable internet connection in regions where landline infrastructure has never been developed.
7. Nearly 80% of internet usage is expected to have been mobile in 2018.
Currently, over half (52.7%) of global internet users access the internet using mobile devices. By the end of 2018, increasing mobile consumption will have driven this number to nearly 80%.
8. Global mobile data traffic is projected to increase nearly 3x between 2018-2021.
The global mobile traffic was estimated to be around 14.9 exabytes per month in 2018. This already impressive figure is expected to undergo an increase by three times by 2021. This is driven to a large extent by better and cheaper mobile connectivity for users across the world.
9. 65% of all digital media time is spent on mobile devices.
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.
10. Mobile market share worldwide is 52.1% compared to desktop market share of 44.2%.
Statcounter provides the up-to-date worldwide and regional market shares for desktop, mobile, and tablets. While there is a slight uptick in desktop’s favor towards the end of 2018, the overall trend has been decidedly in favor of mobile traffic, with a rise in the percentage of mobile users vs. desktop.
11. Users spent 59% of their time on mobile and 41% on desktop, but just 15% of their dollars on mobile and 85% on desktop in 2015.
Interestingly, the time spent on a device is not a reliable indicator of the revenue generated on that device. Despite spending well over half of their digital media time on mobile devices in the 2nd quarter of 2015, users continued to trust desktop devices for the bulk of their digital media spend.
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.
12. What percentage of searches are mobile device based? 58%, according to Google.
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.
13. 40% of people search only on a smartphone.
According to a report by Google, search has become increasingly more mobile. By late 2016, nearly 4 people in 10 who used Google search were doing it only on smartphones.
14. Smartphones contributed to 55% of Google search ad clicks in Q4 2017.
(Source: Smart Insights)
Desktop contributed to 37% while the remaining came from tablets. Interestingly, the shares can vary substantially across different search engines. For instance, desktop clicks accounted for 77% of Bing ads in the same period, while mobile accounted for only 14%.
15. Mobile local search query volume in the US is estimated to reach 141.9B searches by 2019.
Mobile browsing stats show a consistently steep increase in the local search query volume on mobile platforms in the US from 2014 to 2019. The 141.9 billion searches expected in 2019 would be a 25% increase over the figure in 2017. On the other hand, desktop search query volume shows a marginal decrease over 2014-2019, reaching 62.3 billion searches.
16. The mobile search ad revenue in the USA is expected to reach $21.55B in 2022.
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.
17. Mobile search advertising spending in the USA will grow to $37.43B in 2020.
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 will grow from $14.17 billion in 2015 to $37.43 billion in 2020.
18. 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).
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.
19. 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).
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.
20. 62% of organic searches display different results on desktop vs. mobile.
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.
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.
21. 61% of email opens in USA occurred on mobile, 15% on desktop and 24% in a webmail client in 2017.
The monthly reporting on global mobile usage trends show that email opens on mobile devices have stabilized around the 61% mark in 2017. Opens on desktop are slowing down, with an average of 15% over the year. Opens on webmail clients are growing, with an average of about 24% for 2017.
22. More than half of all video views come from mobile devices.
By 2016, it was being reported that a higher number of videos got viewed on mobile devices (mainly smartphones) than on desktops. During the 3rd quarter of 2016, 52% of all video views came from mobile devices. This was an increase of 233% since Q3 of 2013, which is a faster growth rate than the adoption of mobile devices across the world during the same time period.
23. 59.9% of the total time spent watching videos is on desktop.
While there is an increasing trend of mobile users to opt for long form content, desktop still accounts for more time spent by users in watching videos. Based on a total of 39 trillion seconds spent watching videos, mobile devices accounted for only 40.1% of the users’ time.
24. More than 70% of YouTube viewing happens on mobile devices.
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.
25. Of the top 50 YouTube channels, each channel on average extended its desktop audience reach by 218% after including consumption on mobile devices.
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.
26. Google found that video ad viewability was significantly higher among mobile users (83%) than desktop (53%).
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.
27. 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.
28. 95.1% of Facebook users worldwide access the social network via a smartphone.
(Source: Statista, VentureBeat)
Facebook mobile vs. desktop usage figures from January 2017 present a sharp contrast, where laptops and desktops account for only 31.8% of Facebook access. Even more interesting is the fact that over half of Facebook users access the network exclusively from mobile devices. While Facebook’s growth will continue to slow down due to its mammoth size, its revenue share coming from mobile is still growing.
29. 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.
30. 80% of Pinterest users accessed the network through a mobile device in 2016.
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.
31. 60% of LinkedIn traffic comes from mobile devices.
LinkedIn often claims to be a mobile-first company, with many of its major updates first introduced on the mobile app. By 2017, about 60% of its traffic was originating from mobile devices, forcing the company to focus on a more mobile-friendly user interface, with smoother navigation between the various modules.
Mobile vs. Desktop Ecommerce Statistics
32. Average smartphone conversion rates are up 64% compared to the average desktop conversion rates.
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.
33. 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)
Through 2016 and early 2017, the retail conversion rate for desktops was 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.
34. 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.
35. Mobile commerce will make up 45% of total US e-commerce sales or $284B by 2020.
(Source: Business Insider)
In 2014, mobile comprised 11.6% of the $303 billion value of e-commerce sales in the U.S. Mcommerce vs. ecommerce statistics show that this share will have risen to 45% by 2020. Note that apart from the increased share, the overall pie will also be much larger – about $632 billion by some estimates.
36. Online shopping on mobile increased from 8% to 15%, while on desktop dropped from 78% to 63%.
Over the 2016-2017 period, the share of shopping on smartphones in the overall online shopping numbers in the U.S. almost doubled from 8% to 15%. The share of shopping on tablets also doubled from 5% to 10%. This increase came at the expense of the share of desktop shopping, which saw a decrease from 78% of the overall to 63%.
37. Categories with the highest mobile share of purchases are also the ones with the most rapid-e-commerce growth.
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, noting that eliminating the friction of buying on mobile (smaller screens, privacy concerns, etc.) is critical for retailers.
38. 67% of revenue share ($72.3B) during 2017’s holiday online shopping was by desktop, and 23% ($25B) was by smartphones.
Another indication that browsing on mobile does not translate to shopping on mobile came from the industry-wide sales figures during the 2017 holiday season. While 56% of the browsing for products took place on mobile devices, the actual share in revenue was 23% for smartphones and 10% for tablets.
39. 64% of sales on Shopify were mobile, and 36% of sales were desktop in 2017.
This trend of higher revenue share for desktop was bucked by Shopify, though, during the same shopping season. The figures here were almost diametrically opposite to industry-wide figures. How did Shopify manage to do this? By making its platform optimized for mobile use, which means going beyond simple design changes.
40. Mobile users are 39% less likely to book a flight online.
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 user experience improves.
42. 90% of customers expect consistent interactions across channels.
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 in 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.
This channel-hopping is not limited to shoppers in the U.S. 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 a 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.
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.
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.
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. 50% of users are likely to abandon a desktop site if it doesn’t load within 2 sec.
(Source: Resource Techniques)
This impatience with slow loading speeds is seen on desktops, too. Almost 50% of users expect pages to load within 2 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.
Slow loading of pages is one of the main reasons for 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).
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.
While it helps to have mobile-optimized websites, according to 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.
52. As of October 2018, the average CTR for results on desktop in first ranking position was higher at a CTR of 34.17%, compared to the average first ranking result on mobile at 28.13% CTR.
(Source: Advanced Web Ranking)
While the click-through rates for the top-ranking result are marginally higher on desktop, what is also interesting in this graph is that the decline in CTR as the ranking drops is not as steep in mobile as it is on desktop. In fact, as you go down the rankings, in the 13 to 20 range, the CTRs are actually slightly higher for mobile than for desktop.
Key takeaways from mobile vs. desktop statistics 2019:
- 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.
- Stone Temple
- Stone Temple
- Stone Temple
- Stone Temple
- Stone Temple
- Smart Insights
- Smart Insights, Marketing Land
- Statista, VentureBeat
- Wall Street Journal
- Smart Insights
- Facebook IQ
- Business Insider
- Mobile Marketer
- Mobile Payments Today
- Resource Techniques
- Advanced Web Ranking