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Mobile Accounts For 17% Of All Web Traffic

Smartphone proliferation boosts worldwide mobile Web usage to 1 out of 6 connections.

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Use of mobile devices to access the Internet has surged over the last 12 months. By July of this year, mobile phones accounted for 17.4% of global Web use. That's up significantly from 11.1% last year. The global rise in mobile Web access can be pinned on the accelerating adoption of smartphones around the world.

The data, which comes from StatCounter, does not include tablets. Only mobile phones, both smart and dumb, counted in this study. Mobile Web use grew in all regions around the world, but it increased most significantly in developing regions.

Africa, for example, saw its mobile Web use double year-over-year from 11.3% in 2012 to 23.7% in 2013. Nearly 25% of all Web access across the African continent comes from cell phones. For many users, cell phones are the only way possible to access the Internet. Wired connections and PCs aren't as readily available in Africa as they are elsewhere in the world.

[ Smartphones -- particularly Androids -- continue to gain momentum in the global market. Read Smartphone Sales Beat Feature Phones. ]

South America also saw its mobile Web use double, from 3.2% in 2012 to 6.8% in 2013. Asia's mobile Web use didn't grow as dramatically year-over-year, but it now accounts for 26.6% of all Internet access across the area. It increased from 18.8% in 2012 and remains the world's largest region for mobile use of the Internet.

More mature markets saw less overall growth but still posted strong numbers. Mobile use across the European continent swelled from 5.9% of the total in 2012 to 9.7% in 2013. Wired connections and PCs are widely available in Europe. The same is true in North America, where mobile phones accounted for 9.4% of all Web access in 2012 and 15.2% in 2013. Oceania, which includes Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, and other island nations, saw mobile Web use climb from 8% in 2012 to 14.6% in 2013.

In the U.S., sales of smartphones have outnumbered those of dumb phones (think your old flip phone) for some time. Smartphones now account for as much as 80% of device sales at the larger carriers. The numbers have been climbing for years, propelled by devices such as the Apple iPhone, Samsung's Galaxy line and others.

The balance tipped worldwide just this year. According to research firm Gartner, global smartphone sales reached 225 million units during the second quarter, up 46.5% from the year-ago period. During the same time, feature phone sales fell to 210 million units during the second quarter, down 21% compared to the year-ago period.

Smartphone sales saw the biggest surges across Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America, though growth was recorded all around the globe. The numbers correlate fairly well with the increased adoption of mobile Web use.

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User Rank: Author
8/29/2013 | 10:13:03 PM
re: Mobile Accounts For 17% Of All Web Traffic
Less obvious, but potentially as stunning, is the growing volume of things communicating wireless. Cool chart provides a glimpse of how pervasive M2M devices, many of which work wirelessly, have become. See
Michael Endler
Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
8/21/2013 | 9:27:43 PM
re: Mobile Accounts For 17% Of All Web Traffic
It's getting really arbitrary. Sometimes tablets counts as PCs and sometimes they don't. Sometimes they count as mobile devices and sometimes they don't. I think it makes more sense in a context like this to look at the devices that rely on Wi-Fi or hard connections vs. the ones that can also take cellular data. Device costs and infrastructure support have a lot to do with trends in emerging markets. Form factor isn't the only factor.
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
8/21/2013 | 5:13:38 PM
re: Mobile Accounts For 17% Of All Web Traffic
That seems odd to exclude tablets, given that tablets are typically seen as mobile devices.
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