Mobile First – Growing with the Mobile Web

Mobile First – Growing with the Mobile Web

Didn’t believe us when we said mobile internet access is growing fast? Didn’t believe us when we said mobile-friendliness – such as responsive design and touch optimisation – were particularly important in this country?

Well here’s some data that should convince even the harshest critic:

Pingdom (an Internet usage monitoring service) used a large set of reliable data from StatCounter (a popular traffic counter for web sites) to analyse mobile web access around the globe. The results took even our breath away… It turns out that global mobile web usage from smartphone and mobile broadband access alone has not just doubled (as we had previously predicted) but has tripled over the last 2 years.

I mean… There’s growth and then there’s GROWTH! Right?

Europe & UK

Perhaps the most interesting statistic is that out of all European countries, the UK finds itself head-and-shoulders above all other countries in terms of percentage of total traffic coming from mobiles. At nearly 11%, we’re forced to consider the fact that, on average, a web site should be expecting 1 in 10 visits to come from a mobile user. This is more than double the percentage of traffic coming from mobile users across the whole of Europe (which sits at just 5%).


It’s also interesting that the worldwide percentage is only at 10%, putting the UK above average even when considering the outlying developing areas of the world who are a lot more dependent on mobile internet access due to their infrastructure…

Developing Countries & Global Peaks

Africa and Asia, where technology is developing fast, have the highest percentages of mobile web traffic compared to overall internet access. This really stands testament to the fact that desktop-based computers are (to some extent) becoming old news: In countries where consumers are approaching the contemporary technology market for the first time, consumers are gravitating toward mobile devices due to their usability and cost-effectiveness compared to hardwire/fixed-line provisions.

In India, mobile web traffic represents a whopping 49% of overall traffic. In African nations the largest percentages are 47% in Zambia, 45% in Sudan, 42% in Uzbekistan and 41% in Nigeria. Of course in these countries more people have mobile phones than land-lines due to the fact that they are still developing; but in light of their currently available options, that fact in itself shows a market preference (moving forward) compounded by the knock-on economics of that preference.

Mobile First

We’ve seen mobile phones and smartphones go from strength to strength. Everyone from 6 year olds to 60 year olds now has the Internet in their pocket or handbag. Fair and honest pub quizzes are a thing of the past!

So, although mobile usage is still on the rise, why are Brits still using desktops 90% of the time when other parts of the world are only using them 50% of the time?

Perhaps it is only the legacy of desktop machines that is still securing their relatively high usage in European countries?!

There. I said it.

We’re all creatures of habit; and despite the rather obvious economic and ergonomic benefits of using tablets rather than cumbersome PCs, we seem stuck in our ways. How many companies do you know who will throw away all their ‘perfectly good’ PCs and buy everyone a brand new iPad or Surface tablet?

But it will happen… eventually. Soon too if this research is anything to go off. Particularly as the development of tablet/smartphone technology reaches more of a plateau (admittedly a limiting factor at the moment is how quickly tablet devices become obsolete, making their value seem more fleeting than desktop machines).

In fact, now that the Surface has set a trend by being released with detachable keyboards and a Windows operating system, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the usage of tablets as primary internet-accessing work devices start to rise much faster.

So, are you ahead of the curve or watching it run away from you? Many companies, such as Microsoft, are now thinking about ‘mobile first’ every time they design or develop anything. Why? To be future-proof and to corner market share as early as possible.


P.S. Need one more stat to be convinced? Well a recent study from San Francisco based TeaLeaf (an IBM company) stated that 56% of people feel the customer experience is improved on a mobile. Argue with that!