More people accessed the web from mobile and tablet devices than desktop devices for the first time during October, according to data from web analytics firm StatCounter.
The firm’s research division, StatCounter Global Stats, said that mobile and tablet devices accounted for 51.3 per cent of internet use worldwide in October compared with 48.7 per cent on desktop.
The chart above shows the huge increase in mobile web use, no doubt driven by the proliferation of web-enabled smart devices like phones and tablets, in developed and emerging regions.
StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen explained that the data underlined the importance of having a solid mobile web offering.
“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,” he said.
“Mobile compatibility is increasingly important not just because of growing traffic but because Google favours mobile friendly websites for its mobile search results.”
However, despite the global trend, desktop remains the more common means of getting online in the UK. Some 55.6 per cent of traffic comes from desktop devices compared with 44.4 per cent from mobiles and tablets.
This may make some British firms question whether prioritising mobile sites is important right now, but Cullen warned that any firm in overseas markets must take this seriously.
“Post-Brexit, UK businesses should be aware as they look to increase trade outside the EU that India, for example, has over 75 per cent internet use through mobile devices,” he said.
Many UK businesses already benefit from this uptake in mobile web browsing. Firms as diverse as Shop Direct, Gumtree and the Royal Shakespeare Company are all seeing user growth increase in this area.
The US has similar data showing 58 per cent of web use on desktop machines and 42 per cent on mobile devices.
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