Brits prefer to surf on desktops not mobile, unlike rest of the world

It if really surprises anyone, mobile internet usage has finally surpassed usage on desktops for the first time ever, and it seems to be staying that way for a long time to come.

StatCounter's latest report on global internet usage places mobile usage at 51.3% and desktop usage at 48.7%.

The statistic on global mobile internet usage includes internet usage on both mobile phones and tablets. If we look at them separately, internet usage on tablets is a miniscule 4.73% globally but that plays a big part in relegating desktop usage to a minority for the first time ever. If we look at the figures for the same time last year, internet usage on desktops ruled at 55.86% while that on mobiles and tablets trailed at 39.01% and 5.14%. Overall, internet use on smartphones has gained in the last 12 months at the cost of desktops and tablets.

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However, the story in the UK is a lot different from the global picture. Interestingly, internet usage on smartphones is still languishing at just over 30% while desktops and tablets are well-placed at 55.62% and 12.99% respectively. However, if we compare the charts with that of the same time of last year, mobile internet usage has grown by around 6% amidst a similar drop in desktop internet usage while usage on tablets has stayed more or less constant. If the trend continues, internet usage on smartphones may overtake that on desktops in the next three years or so.

Aodhan Cullen, CEO at StatCounter, says that even though desktop usage is far greater than mobile in the UK, the transition is taking place very quickly and internet traffic will shift in favour of smartphones sooner than expected. “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. Mobile compatibility is increasingly important not just because of growing traffic but because Google favours mobile friendly websites for its mobile search results. Post-Brexit, UK businesses should be aware, as they look to increase trade outside the EU, that India for example has over 75% internet usage through mobile devices,” he said.

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A major reason why mobile internet usage may rise quickly in the UK at the cost of desktops is the fact that mobile broadband speeds in the UK are faster than anywhere else in the world. In its State of the Internet report, content delivery network Akamai stated that Britain recorded an average mobile internet speed of 27.9 Mbps compared to just 5.1 Mbps in the United States and up from 20.4 Mbps in 2015.

In contrast, the average internet speeds in the United States increased from a mere 4 Mbps last year to 5.1 Mbps in the first quarter of this year. Countries like Slovakia with 13.3 Mbps, France with 11.5 Mbps and African nations like Algeria and Kenya recorded greater average internet speeds compared to the United States.

Source: StatCounter

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