Desktop computers are still, by far, the preferred way that people access the Internet. This isn’t too surprising. The Internet, in fact, is still largely designed for desktop computers. Some Internet sites that are wonderful on desktop computers are horribly clunky on mobile devices. More and more, however, people are using their mobile devices to access the Internet. In addition to this, an increasing number of mobile devices hitting the market will mean that websites are going to become easier to navigate and that more people are likely to hop on the Internet on their tablet computer, smart phone or other mobile device.
What Are the Numbers?
While mobile Internet users still constitute a small fraction of overall Internet use, it is increasing remarkably. Currently, according to statistics gathered by Pingdom.com, approximately 8 percent of the Internet traffic in the United States is generated on mobile devices. Worldwide, approximately 10 percent of overall Internet traffic is generated on mobile devices.
Currently, some market analysts are predicting that mobile Internet usage should supersede desktop Internet usage at some point between 2014 and 2015. This means that many of your customers, clients or fans are likely to be accessing your Internet site on a mobile device. Roughly 1/4 of the cellular phones currently in use around the world are smartphones that are capable of surfing the Internet in a comfortable and useful way. These statistics, provided by Gettag.mobi demonstrate that there is definitely a market out there that needs to be reached and that the mobile market will increase in the future.
Improving Site Design
The term usually used to describe websites that can function equally well in desktop browsers or mobile device browsers is “responsive”. In most cases, the website will have a separate layout that it can use to accommodate the different screen sizes characteristic of mobile devices. This has the effect of making your website accessible by making it easier for people to click on links, to read text and so forth.
Websites that don’t have a mobile version tend to be extremely difficult to read on mobile devices and, if your website isn’t easy to read on a mobile device and your competitors happens to be very easy to read on a mobile device, you can guess where a user on a smartphone or a tablet PC is likely to spend their time.
One of the most useful things about the Internet to consumers is that it allows them to price things that they see in stores and see if they can get a better deal on the Internet. Because of the prevalence of mobile devices, it’s becoming more common for consumers to look at an item in a store and look it up on their mobile device to see if they can get a better deal at an Internet retailer. If you have an eCommerce site, this is one of the reasons that it’s important for you to make certain that your site is accessible to mobile users. They very well may stop at your site to see if they can get a better deal from you than they get from their local store while they’re actually in the store!
The site eMarketer reported in January of 2012 that tablet shopping is becoming more important, as well. It may be difficult to design a site that is particularly functional as a retail site on the tiny screen characteristic of most smartphones. Increase that screen size to the typical seven inches that the common tablet computers have and you have a shopping machine.
The Internet is simply becoming more mobile. As always, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and to have your site designed with mobile Internet users in mind.