“Stunning” growth in mobile web browsing in the six months since August 2011 has raised the prospect we are seeing the beginning of the end of the PC era.
The study, carried out by London-based web agency Nucleus, found while overall mobile web browsing was up 72%, the picture was not equal across all platforms.
However, the clear growth of mobile and the inroads Apple’s iPad has made into PC market share suggest a significant shift away from browsing on traditional computer consoles.
The report – the second six monthly analysis of the mobile sector by Nucleus – states: “Our latest study into mobile web browsing documents rapid growth and suggests much more to come.
“Between August 2011 and January 2012, some websites in our sample have seen a doubling of mobile traffic with several now registering over 20% mobile penetration. Our top site generated 24.2% from tablets and smartphones.”
The study took data from 10 UK and global travel websites from mass-market to luxury and comprised 2.75 million unique visitor samples. The key findings were:
- Mobile web browsing grew 72% in the past six months to an average 17.4% of all traffic surveyed
- iOS devices dominated with an average 85.6% share of mobile browsing devices
- The iPad has made dramatic inroads into PC territory, adding 12% to its mobile share
- Android has dropped in total share
- BlackBerry has experienced a melt-down, and Windows is yet to make a mark
- Luxury sites show highest mobile penetration
The Nucleus report said one “glimpse of light” for Google’s Android operating system was that it performs better for mass market websites “indicating more demographic strength in price-sensitive markets”.
It adds that Blackberry browsing has “virtually fallen off the chart” concluding that despite the device’s continuing popularity, it is not being used to browse the web. Of the main devices the iPad was the only one to have increased its mobile market share since last August.
Nucleus said, with shipments of tablet computers forecast to grow from 72 million to 383 million by 2017, overtaking PC shipments, retailers cannot ignore mobile devices.
“Providing mobile-friendly web browsing brand experiences is key, especially in the travel and ecommerce sectors, where online conversion is vital for business.
“Smartphone-friendly websites will also be a requirement for many brands, whether mobile-optimised or stand-alone mobile sites with stripped-down content and functionality and smartphone-friendly navigation.”