The Nokia 9000, also known as the Communicator, was released in the mid-1990s.
It’s regarded as the first mobile phone to have internet access.
At that time, the internet was relatively unknown, an idea that may or may not catch on.
After all, there was limited information online and dial-up was agonizingly slow.
Fast forward 10 years and its popularity was growing rapidly, leading to a healthy competition between desktops and mobile devices for access superiority.
At the time, mobile phones didn’t have the processing power and memories of desktops, making them a poor substitute.
But that’s all changed and, in the last few years, the mobile vs desktop statistics are showing that mobile is finally winning the fight.
Let’s take a look at the top mobile vs desktop usage statistics.
- 60% of website traffic is from a mobile device
- Mobile traffic exceeded desktop for the first time in November 2016
- 58% of multi-device purchases use mobile to close the sale
- Global mobile web traffic increased by 573% between 2017 and 2022
- 83% of social media interactions in the US are via mobile
- More money is spent on mobile ads than desktop ones
- The average American spends 5.5 hours on their cell phone daily
- Currently, desktops offer faster connection speeds than mobiles
- Globally people spend an average of seven hours on their phones daily
- Bounce rates are significantly higher for mobiles
- 96.6% of internet users own a mobile phone
- 63% of online searches are via mobile
- Conversion rates are three times higher with mobile sites
Top Mobile Vs Desktop Usage Statistics in 2023
1. 60% Of Website Traffic Is From A Mobile Device
The simplest response to mobile vs desktop usage is this, 60% of all website traffic now comes from mobiles.
This figure has been gradually increasing for years and is likely to continue doing so.
Advancements in mobile technology are not the only reason mobiles are the preferred option.
It’s also related to generations being brought up with access to a mobile before a desktop.
In short, they are used to accessing the internet via a mobile and often don’t see a reason to invest in a desktop as well.
This is backed up by figures. 28% of 18-29 year olds depend completely on smartphones for internet access.
In contrast, just 12% of over 65s depend on smartphones for internet access.
2. Mobile Traffic Exceeded Desktop For The First Time In November 2016
This is often described as a watershed moment.
It marks when mobile phones developed enough processing power to rival the ease of ordering via a desktop.
In short, it’s the moment phone technology advanced enough to make internet access via a phone a pleasant experience.
Thanks to advancements in technology, mobile phones are now powerful enough to ensure pages appear almost instantly.
Combine this with the ease of carrying and using a mobile and it’s inevitable that searches will increasingly be done via mobile.
According to statistics, November 2016 was the first time internet traffic from mobiles exceeded desktops. A trend that has continued.
It’s fair to say this watershed moment will be noted in history, potentially as a turning point for human development.
3. 58% Of Multi-Device Purchases Use Mobile To Close The Sale
This figure reflects how easy it is to order a product or service online.
As most people have online digital wallets, everything can be accessed on your smartphone at the same time.
That means a process which can take 5-10 minutes on a desktop can be completed in 1-2 minutes on a mobile.
That’s a good enough incentive for most people and the reason why 58% of purchases which have been looked at on more than one device are bought via a mobile.
The reason why multiple devices are used is simple.
A desktop remains the better option for reviewing products and most people like to review what they are buying before they commit.
4. Global Mobile Web Traffic Increased by 573% Between 2017 And 2022
The majority of internet users access the internet via a mobile device. Many also use desktop devices, depending on which suits their purposes best.
However, the latest survey by Zippia highlights how mobile access is becoming increasingly popular and will be the dominant force in internet access.
Between 2017 and 2022 mobile web traffic increased across the globe by 573%. In comparison, the average increase in internet user numbers per year is six percent.
5. 83% Of Social Media Interactions In The US Are Via Mobile
Desktops remain a popular option for researching products. They have larger screens and are easier to scroll through multiple tabs.
That means you can compare reviews on several products and ensure you make the right purchasing decision.
In many cases, this leads to a sale via a mobile site or app as the decision will have been made and you simply want to order something.
In the case of social media interactions, mobiles are used 83% of the time.
They are more convenient, keep you connected at all times, and even suggest words as you type.
In short, it’s not surprising that most social media interactions are done via a mobile phone.
6. More Money Is Spent On Mobile Ads Than Desktop Ones
Advertising has become one of the biggest revenue sources online.
With so many potential customers in one place, reachable via a few clicks and a good post, there are plenty of reasons for everyone to advertise online.
The amount spent on online advertising has been increasing year after year. However, according to the latest Statista report, 2022 is the turning point.
That’s the year 51% of advertising spending went on mobile sites and 49% went on desktop sites.
It’s a huge industry. Estimates suggest the spend on internet advertising will reach $151 billion by 2024!
7. The Average American Spends 5.5 Hours On Their Cell Phone Daily
The average American will spend 5.5 hours on their phone every day.
That’s not surprising, your phone is always with you and this makes it easy to look at it at almost any time, such as during lunch breaks, during the commute, and even while using the toilet.
The survey doesn’t break down these hours into usage.
It has been shown that mobile phones are commonly used for games and social media, not all of the 5.5 hours are spent on shopping online.
8. Currently, Desktops Offer Faster Connection Speeds Than Mobiles
Mobile phones have become significantly more powerful.
Processors have become smaller and screens larger, making internet access easier and more pleasant.
However, despite the increase in power, a standard mobile phone, connecting to the internet via a data package, will offer speeds of 25.1 Mbps.
That’s impressive by early internet standards.
However, the average desktop has a fixed line connection and can offer speeds of 54.3 Mbps.
That’s over twice the speed of a standard mobile data package.
Naturally, mobile phones are more convenient, that’s why businesses should develop separate mobile sites to ensure the fastest and best possible experience for all visitors.
9. Globally People Spend An Average Of Seven Hours On Their Phones Daily
Impressively, the average global time on cell phones is seven hours, actually higher than the average American.
Much of this can be attributed to the South Africans who spend, on average, 10 hours and 46 minutes online every day.
This is partially balanced by the lowest average daily phone usage time. That’s currently Japan with four hours and 26 minutes.
Again, there is no breakdown of what people are doing on their phones for this amount of time but it is likely to be internet-based.
10. Bounce Rates Are Significantly Higher For Mobiles
The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that leave your site after viewing just one page.
The average bounce rate can be anything between 26% and 70%.
Any page with a 26% bounce rate is considered excellent, while a 70% bounce rate means you have work to do, you’re not retaining potential customers.
A recent survey showed that, on average, mobile sites have a bounce rate of 67.4%.
In contrast, the average desktop has a bounce of 32%!
The longer it takes to load your page the more likely it is that a visitor will simply move on.
Statistics show a 32% increase in bounce rates if the page takes between 1-3 seconds to load.
If your site takes 10 seconds to load the bounce rate will be increased by a huge 123%
Mobile users generally have shorter attention spans, hence the higher bounce rates.
That’s why you need to make sure your page loads fast.
11. 96.6% Of Internet Users Own A Mobile Phone
There are roughly eight billion people in the world and approximately 5.34 billion mobile phones, although this figure is rising steadily.
Current estimates also suggest over five billion people have access to the internet, roughly two thirds of the population.
The statistics show there are more mobile phones than internet users, suggesting that not all phone owners will use them to access the internet as figures also show 96.6% of internet users have mobile phones.
But, of those that do have phones, an impressive 92.1% of them use them to go online.
Of course, that doesn’t mean they don’t also go online via a desktop.
12. 63% Of Online Searches Are Via Mobile
An interesting survey completed in 2021 showed that 15% of US internet users don’t have fixed line access.
In many cases they choose to connect via a mobile, although in some cases broadband access still isn’t possible.
This obviously boosts the overall figures regarding online searches.
However, it seems likely this trend will continue. The arrival of comprehensive satellite systems, such as Starlink, will help mobile access improve further.
The 2022 Zippia survey showed that 63% of search requests done via the main search engines originate from a mobile.
That’s because the mobile allows you to quickly check information and see products, even if you purchase later via a desktop.
13. Conversion Rates Are Three Times Higher With Mobile Apps
The latest research shows that a mobile app is three times more likely to finish a customer visit with a sale than a mobile site.
It’s also one-and-a-half times more likely to create a sale than a desktop app.
It’s impressive and illustrates why all businesses should have apps.
After all, if someone takes the time to download an app they are likely to be interested in purchasing repetitively. The app makes life easier.
Why Mobile Usage Will Continue To Climb
The battle between mobile vs desktop internet usage has swung in the favor of mobile technology and this is unlikely to change in the future.
You can’t carry a desktop with you all the time. It needs to be plugged in and there are several components.
However, a mobile phone can be slipped into your pocket or bag.
It’s always on, easy to recharge, and even notifies you when you have a new message or other important information.
In short, mobiles will be increasingly used for internet access because they are always there when you need them, a desktop is only in one place.
Alongside this, it’s worth remembering that mobiles offer an array of other features, such as calendars to help you organize your day.
They are more than just a means to access the internet. Your mobile can help you navigate life!
In recent years there has been a huge increase in mobile apps. That’s apps designed specifically for mobiles.
These help to ensure you have all the tools you need at your fingertips.
It generally takes a few minutes to locate a new app and download it, allowing you to get the assistance you need, whatever the job.
With an even bigger interest in mobile apps expected, it’s unlikely that businesses will stop promoting them and internet users will certainly keep using them.
One of the biggest attractions of mobile devices is that they offer a wide variety of functions.
No matter what you need, your mobile device is likely to be able to help.
It’s not just the internet and scheduling your day.
Your mobile is the ultimate survival device, keeping you connected almost anywhere in the world, providing you with torch light when needed, and even storing essential survival information.
In short, most people feel strange if they don’t have their mobile with them, that’s how integrated they are into society, the same can’t be said for a desktop.
Mobile technology has improved dramatically in recent years.
Screen sizes have got larger, processors and memories are bigger, and phones have even become foldable.
This technology will continue to advance. It’s probable that mobile phones will become more powerful and faster than desktops in the future.
It should be noted that some apps run better on desktops. These are generally graphic designs and video editing, as well as IT development apps.
There will still be a need for these for years to come.
Although, better processing power on mobile devices, combined with casting to television screens and voice commands could signal the end of the desktop.
A combination of modern technology, with multiple applications, could soon be a better option.
Of course, desktops don’t keep you connected at all times of the day and night.
That could be considered an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on your preference.
The mobile vs desktop usage statistics clearly show that mobiles are winning the battle and are eventually likely to win the war.
They are simply more convenient and, to many of the younger generation, the only logical choice to access the internet.
The question isn’t really whether mobiles are used more often to access the web than desktops, it’s whether there is a future for desktops at all.
Only time will tell, but, while it’s likely that desktops will always have a role to play, statistics suggest mobiles will be the dominant force.