Mobile browser usage share hits 20% for the first time

Traditional PCs continue to give up ground to smartphones and tablets

Mobile devices generated 20% of the world's browsing activity last month, the first time that the surging category reached the 1-in-5 milestone, according to a Web analytics company.

Dublin-based StatCounter pegged November's mobile browser usage share -- a tally of website pages viewed, and thus a measurement of online activity -- at 20%, with personal computers accounting for the remaining 80%.

In the last 12 months, mobile's global usage share grew by 7 percentage points, representing a 53% annual increase.

Mobile's browsing growth is in part a side effect of a global slump in personal computer sales as customers instead purchase smartphones and tablets, and as a result, shift their time spent online from PCs to mobile. For the year, personal computer shipments will be more than 10% lower than the year before, when shipments contracted by a then-historic 4% compared to 2011.

Usage share gains for mobile have come at the expense of what StatCounter defines as "desktop," a category that includes both desktop and notebook PCs, primary powered by Microsoft's Windows, and Macs running Apple's OS X. Desktop browser usage dropped 2 percentage points to 80% in the last three months, and fell 7 points in the last 12.

In September 2009, when Computerworld began tracking mobile browser usage -- seven months before Apple started selling its first iPad -- desktop controlled 98.9% of the usage total, according to StatCounter.

Net Applications, an Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based rival to StatCounter, also tracks desktop and mobile browsing, but uses a different methodology that essentially counts individual users, not online activity.

By Net Applications' measurement, 13.2% of all unique visitors to its clients' websites did so using a smartphone or tablet. Computerworld labels Net Applications' numbers user share to differentiate them from StatCounter's.

Personal computers accounted for 86.2% of the global browser user share for November by Net Applications' tally.

Not surprisingly, browser makers have jumped on the mobile bandwagon. Nearly 60% of Apple's November user share, as defined by Net Applications, was generated by the iOS version of Safari, for example, while 20% of Google's user share came from its stock Android browser and the newer Chrome on that mobile operating system.

Meanwhile, Microsoft's mobile version of Internet Explorer (IE) accounted for less than half of one percent of IE's total user share.

Mobile browsing reached the 20% usage share mark in November, an increase of more than 50% over the past 12 months. (Data: StatCounter.)

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

Read more about internet in Computerworld's Internet Topic Center.

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

If creative, media and technology were bedfellows

It’s become crystal clear that if you’re going to be successful in the ever-shifting marketing landscape, you need to be able to change direction, and fast. Fluidity and agility are key, and that’s why having technology, media and creative playing on the same team is going to be crucial for the successful marketer or agency.

Jason Dooris

CEO and founder, Atomic 212

Why 2017 will herald a resurgence of values-based marketing

It doesn’t take long for predictions to become predictable: The rise and rise of Facebook; advancements in analytics; the normalisation of chatbots; personalisation, programmatic, automation, authenticity… The prediction that’s missing from these lists is that in 2017 we will witness a resurgence of values-based marketing.

Jacqueline Burns

Founder, Market Expertise

Why customer experience driven growth is set to take off

Our overall brand perceptions are invariably shaped by our experiences. And loyal customer relationships can be severed in moments by a negative service interaction.

loved the Qantas airline and hyundai one

Furqan Bin Rizwan

10 examples of virtual reality marketing in action

Read more

Someone needs a swift kick up the bum for such an idiotic idea.

random

​Why a degree is no longer enough to get you hired as a skilled marketer

Read more

The frequent flyer programs are the new profit machines for airlines all over the world, as they have morphed to be mass marketing machin...

Steve@iFLYflat

Velocity frequent flyers program strong performer in mixed half-year for Virgin

Read more

Hi Jennifer, thanks for sharing these info regarding the digital marketing trends.I've created a related video to this topic, would you m...

Fabio Carry

Predictions: 17 digital marketing trends for 2017

Read more

Great news. Marketing automation can be very useful for companies at various stages of development. With so many tools out there it's bet...

Ben

How HBF rolled out marketing automation in eight months

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in