Mobile exceeds desktop as most used internet platform

Mobile has taken over desktop as the world's leading internet platform for the first time

The majority of worldwide internet usage in 2016 came from mobile and tablet devices, exceeding desktop for the first time, according to new research.

Research by StatCounter found that mobile devices accounted for 51.3% of all internet usage in October 2016 year-over-year, the highest it has ever been, overtaking desktops at 48.7%.

These figures vary considerably on a country-by-country basis, however, the research firm believes it should be a 'wake-up call' to businesses yet to adapt to changing internet habits.

"This should be a wake-up call, especially for small businesses, sole traders and professionals to make sure that their websites are mobile friendly, as many older sites are not," said Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCounter.

Advertisement - Article continues below

"Mobile compatibility is increasingly important not just because of growing traffic but because Google favours mobile friendly websites for its mobile search results," added Cullen.

Google has recently launched greater support for mobile business, as it was revealed a greater number of web searches using their engine come from mobile devices. In July the company released a 'Test Your Site' tool to help keep track of how mobile websites are performing compared to desktop.

What is clear is that many 'mature' economies such as the US and the UK still rely mostly on desktops to access the internet. In the UK desktop internet usage is at 55.6%, with mobile at 44.4%.

However, Cullen warns that although desktop remains the primary mode of internet usage in the UK, businesses wishing to seek opportunities in other countries should be aware of the dominance of mobile.

"Post-Brexit, UK businesses should be aware, as they look to increase trade outside the EU, that India, for example, has over 75% internet usage through mobile devices," said Cullen.

The majority of the countries in Africa, the Middle East, and one of the UK's biggest trading partners, China, have all seen mobile become the dominant mode of internet use.

Although many companies consider mobile as their 'other' platform, it may be time to focus more heavily on the platform, as the trend is likely to continue across the world.

Featured Resources

The IT Pro guide to Windows 10 migration

Everything you need to know for a successful transition

Download now

Managing security risk and compliance in a challenging landscape

How key technology partners grow with your organisation

Download now

Software-defined storage for dummies

Control storage costs, eliminate storage bottlenecks and solve storage management challenges

Download now

6 best practices for escaping ransomware

A complete guide to tackling ransomware attacks

Download now


cyber security

The EU calls for cyber security pact with post-Brexit UK

6 Nov 2019
Business strategy

Can the UK tech sector still attract investment post-Brexit?

19 Sep 2019
Business operations

IT Pro Panel: The truth about talent

1 Jul 2019

Most Popular

identity and access management (IAM)

44 million Microsoft customers found using compromised passwords

6 Dec 2019
Microsoft Azure

Microsoft, not Amazon, is going to win the cloud wars

30 Nov 2019
wifi & hotspots

Industrial Wi-Fi 6 trial reveals blistering speeds

5 Dec 2019

Five signs that it’s time to retire IT kit

29 Nov 2019