Mobile v Desktop Usage 2017

In the past 10 years or so, smartphones have taken the world by storm. Having the internet at your fingertips wherever you go was a phenomenon that will have been unthinkable a few years prior.  This makes businesses think that more people will be browsing for their products on mobile, as opposed to desktop. But is this true?

Traffic

Although it’s true that mobile usage has shot up within the past ten years due to ever expanding technologies, users have not neglected desktop like some may think. The statistics comparing mobile and desktop traffic to websites is extremely close, with 44.21% of website traffic coming from desktop devices, compared with 55.79% of traffic coming from mobile devices (based on 77 billion website visits). With stats like these, we can infer that desktop isn’t completely dead.

Time spent

The time spent on a website is an important factor when it comes to analysing your audience’s behaviour. Yes, more people view sites on mobile, but do they stay for long? Not at all. It’s estimated that only 40.1% of users spend more time on a site from mobile devices, compared to 59.9% of users that spend more time on a site from desktop devices (based on 39 trillion seconds). We could put this down to people using their mobiles to quickly search on the go, whereas desktop users are more likely to take their time and digest what’s on the page. There’s a saying that “Mobile drives more traffic worldwide, but desktop users spend more time on site”, which is true!

Bounce rates

Bounce rate really goes hand in hand with how much time is spent on a website. It’s hardly surprising that the mobile bounce rate is around 40% higher than the desktop bounce rate. Let’s put it this way, most of the time mobile users want the answer there and then, whereas desktop users will take the time to look around more. This is probably due to the types of situations the user may be in. It’s more common to use mobile devices over desktop when the user is on the go, and want to search for something on Google maps, for example.

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Timing matters

You may find that you use your mobile more in the morning, when you’re getting ready for work, as opposed to the afternoon when you’re at your desk. You wouldn’t be the only one to do this. On average, more people browse from their mobile in the early morning, from around 7am-10am. Then, from around 10am-5pm, people switch to desktop, mainly because they’re likely to be at work in the office. In the early evening, 5pm-8pm, desktop usage slowly decreases, while mobile and tablet make a rise. And finally, at prime time, around 8pm-12am, tablets take the lead, with mobile just behind. Users are more likely to use smaller devices when they’re most comfortable, whether they’re getting ready for the day ahead, or winding down for the evening. This could be due to the accessibility of the devices in terms of how easy they are to hold, but also how quickly you can turn unlock them and start browsing straight away, compared to a desktop where you have to wait for it to boot up then log on.

Location

Based on location, the most popular devices vary. Here in the UK, the majority of people use multiple platforms. Under 10% of people only use mobile, whereas almost 30% of people only use desktop devices. Compare this to Indonesia, for example, where 70% of people use mobile only. Therefore if your audience is based in Indonesia, it’ll be more beneficial to create content for mobile over desktop. Around 15% of Indonesian people use desktop only, and while it’s only a small percentage, you should still keep it in mind. This most likely occurs in poorer countries as smartphones are a lot cheaper than a desktop computer.

It’s worth taking all of these factors into consideration when analysing your audience and adapting your content to suit them. Although we still adopt mobile first thinking due to the popularity of mobile, and the fact that we can easily fit things on to a smaller screen before expanding up into desktop size, we need to remember that desktop is still around, and still very much in use. Companies are more likely to browse potential clients and business connections through desktop browsers due to the work environment, so you should consider this especially if you work on a B2B basis.

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