Global mobile internet usage overtakes desktop for the first time

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/stevanovicigor)

Highlighting the momentous shift from desktop to mobile, for the first time ever mobile internet usage has overtaken its desktop counterpart. 

If you look at players now synonymous with mobile – Apple and Google in particular – you’ll see how the shift from desktop to mobile has benefited some while others such as Microsoft – who stuck primarily with desktop – lost out. As this paradigm shift continues, mobile accounted for 51.3 percent of Internet usage worldwide in October compared to 48.7 percent by desktop. 

The statistics come from web analytics company StatCounter who has visualised this shift in a graph showing the continuous decline in desktop internet usage as mobile increases since 2009. 

“This should be a wake-up call especially for small businesses, sole traders and professionals to make sure that their websites are mobile friendly. Many older websites are not,” commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO, StatCounter. 

“Mobile compatibility is increasingly important not just because of growing traffic but because Google favours mobile friendly websites for its mobile search results.” He pointed out that Google recently launched a tool where businesses can test their website mobile performance. 

In mature markets such as the UK and the USA, desktop internet usage still reigns supreme. Cheap mobile handsets are enabling people in emerging markets to access the web for the first time which is boosting the worldwide figures. However, there’s still a clear decline of desktop and increase of mobile internet usage even in the mature markets. 

Cullen warns that post-Brexit, as UK businesses seek to attract new ventures around the world in growing markets, they should be aware that more customers will access the web via mobile over desktop and to cater accordingly. 

Individual country stats available at 

What are your thoughts on the shift in how people access the internet? Let us know in the comments. 

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