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Worldwide Web Usage: Mobile and Tablet Overtakes Desktop For the First Time


Republicans struck down Obama-era rules that would have imposed tight restrictions on what broadband companies such as Verizon, AT&T and Comcast. (Image: Milan_Jovic/Istock.com)

Republicans struck down Obama-era rules that would have imposed tight restrictions on what broadband companies such as Verizon, AT&T and Comcast. (Image: Milan_Jovic/Istock.com)

While internet usage from tablets has remained relatively stable year on year, at around 5%, it's smartphone use that has tipped the balance, gaining almost nine percentage points in 12 months.

Internet usage from mobile devices (51.26%) overtook usage from desktop devices (48.74%) for the first time in October 2016, according to data from StatCounter. In fact, smartphones alone now account for 46.53% of web use, with traffic from tablets at 4.73%.

While internet usage from tablets has remained relatively stable year on year, at around 5%, it's smartphone use that has tipped the balance, gaining almost nine percentage points in 12 months.

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The trend for increasing mobile web usage is global, although it's considerably more marked in developing countries where smartphones -- even entry-level handsets -- play a more central role than in the USA or Europe, for example, where web users have several devices at their disposal both at home and in the office.

India is a case in point, with 78.82% of web traffic from mobile devices. On the other hand, mobile web usage in the UK (44.38%), the USA (42.03%) and Germany (34.64%) is much lower, even if surfing from a smartphone is clearly on the up. Mobile internet use is even lower in France, with just 29.56% of web usage coming from mobile devices (22.96% for smartphones and 6.6% for tablets).

StatCounter's worldwide internet usage data is based on over 15 billion page views per month to a selection of over 2.5 million websites.

first published:November 05, 2016, 13:27 IST