Tech analysis from Africa and the world

Mobile Internet Usage Surpasses Desktop For The First Time Primarily Fueled By Emerging Markets

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It’s another first in history as more people accessed the web from mobile devices than desktops. In a series of data provided by StatCounter, 51.3 percent of all web visits last months were carried out using mobile devices like smartphones and tablets while 48.7 percent of visits came from computers and notebooks. This is a dramatic change which has prompted companies like Google to start thinking of a separate and updated search index for mobile users and this means future searches done on mobile devices could produce better results than on traditional computing systems.

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Under the Mobile and Tablet category which represents 51.3 percent of web visits, we see that 48.7 percent of that figure comes from smartphones while tablet visits actually account for 4.73 percent and this tells us that we can expect smartphones to be the primary medium through which we access the internet in future.

Just yesterday, we reported that a whopping 88 percent of smartphones in the market run on Android and this is primarily because of cost. As more people acquire smartphones, you can expect more people to have access to the internet and so it goes.

There is an interesting point though in the StatCounter data provided, it would seem as if much of this mobile traffic didn’t come from some of the most developed nations in the world. Let’s take the United States for example, more users accessed the internet via desktop than mobile.

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58 percent of web visits in the United States still came from traditional computing platforms while mobile devices including tablets accounted for 42 percent of visits. In the UK, its 55.6 percent for desktops versus 44.4 percent for mobile and in Australia, its 55.1 percent for desktop versus 44.9 percent for mobile. In Ireland, its 57.6 percent for desktop and 42.4 percent for mobile.

While this should be a wakeup call for businesses to make their websites mobile friendly, it also tells you that developing or emerging markets are actually the drivers of this mobile internet era. There will be nearly 400 million smartphones on the African continent by 2017 to researchers.

Ericsson says the 70 percent of the world’s population will have a smartphone by 2020. Almost 80% of smartphone subscriptions added during 2015–2020 will be from Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa and this may be why we are already seeing a growth in mobile usage with respect to internet usage. The Asia Pacific region represents about 40 percent of the world’s economy while Africa is growing at rates much higher than other regions. These mobile internet figures are set to grow further into 2020.

StatCounter Global Stats data is based on over 15 billion page views per month to over 2.5 million websites.

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