See also in the guide
References and resources
The mobile Web in numbers
posted on December 7th, 2011 by Pingdom
There can’t be much doubt that the mobile web is exploding in popularity. Today we’re seeing increased sales in smartphones and tablets, faster mobile data connections, apps, and more. Basically, we’re accessing Internet services more and more from something that is not a PC.
Here are a collection of numbers that attempt to show a picture of what the mobile web was like so far in 2011, how it is has developed, and take a look into the future as well.
From trim and slim to media galore
The mobile web used to mean trimmed-down web pages, accessed over slow connections, serving up mainly text-based content to mobile phones with small screens.
Today we see smartphones growing bigger and faster, and now with 4G connections reaching into speeds of hundreds of megabits per second, even a feature-length movie can be downloaded in minutes or streamed live.
Add tablets to that mix, which are often powered by even more powerful processors and have displays of up to 10-inches, making them suitable for browsing regular web pages in their full glory.
By adopting these latest mobile devices, users’ expectations have changed dramatically. Today mobile web users expect a site to load just as fast on their mobile device as it does on their desktop.
More and more smartphones
Although a smartphone is not required to access the mobile web it sure helps having the larger display with touch input, faster processor, and more storage that a mobile phone usually offers
Many smartphones and other mobile devices have support for Wi-Fi, but to be truly mobile they require some type of mobile data connection, such as 2G, 3G or 4G.
With faster connections come higher demand for mobile data. Although that demand has gone up significantly in recent years, the expectation is that it will continue to rise for a long time to come.
Mobile web browsing
Web browsing is one of the most common activities on smartphones and tablets, with many devices being capable of displaying the full, rich experience of a regular website. But the web browsing experience doesn’t just depend on what hardware you have, it also depends to a large extent on what mobile web browser you use. In the latest StatCounter figures, Opera is still the leading mobile web browser with 22.5% market share, followed by Mobile Safari on iOS with just over 24%. That’s when we combine iPhone and iPod touch in the iOS number. iPhone on its own is just under 20%.
Other information we’ve found related to mobile web browsing:
Mobile-specific or general-purpose sites
It’s quite clear that for a large portion of users accessing the mobile web regular web sites just won’t work. This could be because they’re too large (in terms of file size or pixel dimensions), they have scripting that is not supported by the mobile device, they don’t support graphics, or some other reason.
But with the fast development in smartphones and tablets it’s also clear that many recent devices have enough display size and processing power to deal with the regular versions of many websites.
Mobile websites versus apps
Although there doesn’t seem to be a lot of data concerning websites versus apps, it does seem clear that mobile users have quite definite preferences in terms of what they use for what.
For example, in the “Mobile Modes” report by Yahoo! in August 2011, we can read that to connect with others, 69% of users prefer to use an app, but to shop, 63% of users prefer a web browser. In between, search is also preferably done using a browser, while users prefer an app to navigate: Other numbers:
Almost parallel to the explosion in mobile web over recent years we see a similar development in social networking, with services like Twitter and Facebook leading the way. Combine mobile web and social networking, add in location-aware services, and you have an incredibly popular set of tools that users around the world have taken to and use in their personal as well as professional lives. More than 50% of mobile users in the U.S. that access social networking services do it through the mobile web on their device.
Some other information we found relating to mobile social networking:
Tablets are generally used as media-consumption devices and they are used more for browsing the web than smartphones. More tablet and mobile web related information:
The mobile web in 2012
In 2012 it’s a safe bet that for the mobile web everything will be bigger, faster, and more of it.
What’s really amazing is that if the predictions are right, most websites will soon see more traffic from mobile devices than from computers. The effects that will have on not just the design and development of sites, but also on business opportunities, will be more profound than anything else we’ve experienced so far on the Internet.