Marketers have been predicting that mobile Internet use will surpass Internet access from laptop and desktop computers for years. And it’s finally happened in at least one major country: the U.K.
According to research published in Ofcom’s yearly Communications Market Report, “Smartphones are now considered the most important way of staying connected by 33% of Brits, with 30% preferring their laptops.” Just last year, the majority of Brits (40%) used laptops to browse the Web, while smartphones lagged behind at 22%.
Similarly, smartphones are “the most widely owned web-connected device, with a presence in 66% of [British] households compared with a 65% figure for laptops,” Engadget reports. A drop in prices for 4G services and faster load times are a big part of the shift. Mobile Internet use is also taking off in the U.S.; Mary Meeker’s recent KPCB mobile technology trends report reveals that 51% of Americans prefer to access media from mobile devices, followed closely by desktop computers at 42%. Most Americans still search from a PC or laptop (91%), but mobile searches are quickly catching up, at 80%. The transition from desktop or laptop Internet use to primarily mobile Web access has a lot of marketers talking — and with good reason.
Why Spikes In Mobile Use Matter
It is extremely unwise for business owners to dismiss this trend. In fact, business owners and marketers should be taking steps to accommodate the overwhelming preference for mobile use ASAP. More and more industry experts recommend a mobile-first strategy. For example, SEO and PPC experts must take mobile searches into account. With more consumers searching on-the-go, it is wise for businesses to invest more — or just as much — in paid search for mobile sites or apps. Similarly, businesses must also consider some additional challenges brought on by mobile viewing, such as “the realities of the consumer’s physical search experience, including screen size, device type, carrier, etc.,” Search Engine Land writes.