By Rieva Lesonsky
This holiday season is providing hard-to-ignore proof that increasingly, consumers are turning to mobile devices for functions like search and shopping. Recently, eMarketer did a roundup of some mobile device stats that should get you thinking. Here’s some of what they found:
- The desktop isn’t obsolete yet. U.S. consumers on average still spend twice as much time on desktop computers than on mobile devices.
- However, mobile devices are catching up fast. The average time spent on mobile devices is growing a whopping 14 percent faster than time spent on desktops.
- In fact, if that rate of growth remains the same, eMarketer projects that time spent on mobile could equal time spent on desktops in just a few years.
What are consumers doing on mobile devices? In ever-larger numbers, they’re surfing the Internet. The eMarketer article cites data from Net Marketshare that says tablets and smartphones accounted for more than 10 percent of global browsing traffic in October for the first time ever in October. Net Marketshare notes that this figure is likely an underestimation since it didn’t include users who accessed the Internet via mobile apps.
Net Marketshare’s data is global, but in nations where smartphones are widely used, the growth in mobile Internet access is even faster. According to Chitika data cited by eMarketer, some 28 percent of Web traffic in North America came from mobile devices as of June 2012.
What does this growth mean to your business? If you haven’t yet invested in making your website mobile-friendly, or if you’ve treated this activity as an afterthought, it’s time to get with the program. While in the old days you could think about designing your website for desktop first and then stripping it down for mobile, now you’ve got to consider how users interact with your site differently on desktops, smartphones and tablets.
Also keep in mind consumers are increasingly expecting to be able to choose between a mobile-optimized website and a mobile app depending on their needs and moods—so if you haven’t thought about an app yet, it may be time (provided, of course, there’s some business value that you can offer customers).
I’m not saying you should ignore your website—it’s still the foundation on which all online activity is based, and for right now, it’s still where consumers spend most of their online time. But that’s changing faster than you think. Is your business ready?
Image by Flickr user p_a_h (Creative Commons)