Mobile web browsing surpasses desktop for the first time


    Neck craning smartphone junkies just brought us to a new mobile milestone in October. For the first time, mobile and tablet web browsing overtook desktop across the globe, according to analytics company StatCounter. The trend had been moving in this direction steadily since 2009. Now mobile browsing landed at 51.3% of internet usage in the month of October compared to 48.7% by desktop.

    “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,” said Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCounter. “Mobile compatibility is increasingly important not just because of growing traffic but because Google favours mobile friendly websites for its mobile search results.”


    The increased use of mobile devices is boosted in large part by developing technology markets. In mature markets like the UK, the US, and Australia, desktop still dominates by an ever-slimming margin.

    But while mobile is undoubtedly succeeding in drawing our eyes away from our computers, we still don’t use it as much as we could in order to get our shopping done. According to Business Insider, shoppers on phones tend to abandon their carts more often because of a nightmarish buying experience. Hurdles like websites not optimized for mobile, spottier data connections, and less trust in entering payment info on phones all lead to fewer dollars being spent on phones.

    So there’s a lot more businesses could be doing to improve the mobile retail experience. Businesses that not only streamline the retail process but experiment with brand new ways to promote shopping stand to see the greatest benefits for their revenue as the world shifts more to mobile.

    Facebook is one business that turned mobile into their own strategic advantage when in 2012, they introduced sponsored stories and premium ads to mobile news feeds. The move paid off and the feature has since turned into a major cash cow for them as exemplified in their Q3 earnings report where mobile ads make up 84% of revenue.

    It will also be interesting to see if Instagram’s own experiment with shoppable photos – where users can tap on photos to get more information about the featured products – will take off. But regardless of its success, the move shows what businesses need to be doing to take better advantage of mobile monetization.

    Kelly Paik
    Kelly Paik writes about science and technology for Fanvive. When she's not catching up on the latest innovations, she uses her free-time painting and roaming to places with languages she can't speak. Because she rather enjoys fumbling through cities and picking things on the menu through a process of eeny meeny miny moe.