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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

More Videos

Are you sure they wont start a platform that the cheese is white, pretty sure that is racist

Hite

New brand name for Coon Cheese revealed

Read more

Real digital transformation requires reshaping the way the business create value for customers. Achieving this requires that organization...

ravi H

10 lessons Telstra has learnt through its T22 transformation

Read more

thanks

Lillian Juliet

How Winedirect has lifted customer recency, frequency and value with a digital overhaul

Read more

Having an effective Point of Sale system implemented in your retail store can streamline the transactions and data management activities....

Sheetal Kamble

​Jurlique’s move to mobile POS set to enhance customer experience

Read more

I too am regularly surprised at how little care a large swathe of consumers take over the sharing and use of their personal data. As a m...

Catherine Stenson

Have customers really changed? - Marketing edge - CMO Australia

Read more

Blog Posts

Brand storytelling lessons from Singapore’s iconic Fullerton hotel

In early 2020, I had the pleasure of staying at the newly opened Fullerton Hotel in Sydney. It was on this trip I first became aware of the Fullerton’s commitment to brand storytelling.

Gabrielle Dolan

Business storytelling leader

You’re doing it wrong: Emotion doesn’t mean emotional

If you’ve been around advertising long enough, you’ve probably seen (or written) a slide which says: “They won’t remember what you say, they’ll remember how you made them feel.” But it’s wrong. Our understanding of how emotion is used in advertising has been ill informed and poorly applied.

Zac Martin

Senior planner, Ogilvy Melbourne

Why does brand execution often kill creativity?

The launch of a new brand, or indeed a rebrand, is a transformation to be greeted with fanfare. So why is it that once the brand has launched, the brand execution phase can also be the moment at which you kill its creativity?

Rich Curtis

CEO, FutureBrand A/NZ

Sign in