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Smartphones are now officially more popular than PCs for browsing the internet

Mobile Users top PC users

This important fact should change the way you think about your own business website.

Why? because understanding the experience your potential customers are having when they visit your website could be the difference between making a sale or getting an enquiry – and not!

In their report on August 6th 2015, Ofcom said: “Two thirds of people now own a smartphone, using it for nearly two hours every day to browse the internet, access social media, bank and shop online.”

The report highlighted some interesting facts and figures:

  • 66% of people now own a Smartphone
    (this is an average. In 18-34 year-olds it’s around 90%)
  • 54% of households own a tablet
  • 34% of adults, and 49% of 18-24 years-olds, check their Smartphone within 5 minutes of waking-up!
  • On average we spend almost 2 hours a day online with a Smartphone, compared to just over an hour on a laptop or desktop PC

The shift to Smartphone use is startling. In 2014 Smartphone usage for browsing the web was only 22%. Now it’s close to 66% and it will only continue to increase.

The full report is available as a download by clicking here but the main points in the report relating to Smartphones in particular are below, under the heading: “A SMARTPHONE SOCIETY”:

  • Two-thirds of adults have a smartphone. Ninety-three per cent of UK adults said they had a mobile phone in the first quarter of 2015. Of these, 71% said they had a smartphone; 66% of the adult population. This has increased by 27 percentagepoints since 2012
  • Young people are ten times as likely as older people to say their mobile phone is the device they would miss the most. Three in five (59%) 16-24 year olds named their mobile phone as the device they would miss the most if it were taken away, compared to less than a fifth (17%) who cited a TV set. In comparison, just 6% of those aged 55 and over said they would miss their phone the most, while 57% of this age group said they would most miss the TV set
  • For the first time, the smartphone has overtaken the laptop as the device internet users say is the most important for connecting to the internet; in 2015 33% chose their smartphone, and 30% chose their laptop, compared with 23% and 40% respectively in 2014. Furthermore, smartphones are now the most widely owned internet-enabled device (66%), on a par with laptops (65% of households)
  • Half of smartphone users say they are ‘hooked’ on their mobile phone. About half of smartphone users (48%) score themselves at 7 or above when asked to describe how hooked they are on their mobile phone on a scale of 1-10, rising to three-fifths (61%) of young people aged 16-24
  • Half of young people aged 18-24 check their phones within five minutes of waking and two-fifths check it less than five minutes before going to sleep. Three in ten adults (29%) said they checked their phones within five minutes of waking up, increasing to about half of 18-24 year olds (48%). The first thing people are most likely to access is text messages (35% of adults, 38% of 18-24 year-olds)
  • Despite its multiple uses, the smartphone remains primarily a communications device. Almost three-quarters (72%) of the time spent on a smartphone is on communications activities, including text messages, email, using social networks, instant messages and calls (voice or video)
  • While emailing is the most popular form of communications undertaken on a smartphone (81% of users), photo and video based forms of communication are used by some smartphone owners. Just over four in ten (42%) smartphone users send photos or videos via text, while 18% use their phone for video internet calls
  • Smartphones are twice as likely to be used for watching short video clips than for full-length programmes. Although a smartphone can allow users to access any online film or television service, users are twice as likely to use their phones to watch 6 short-form video clips than for streaming television programmes or films (42% vs. 21%)
  • A substantial proportion of smartphone owners use their phones for transactional activities, including making purchases online (45%) and online banking (44%)
  • A fifth of smartphone users admit to having used their phones in a cinema or theatre. About three-fifths of smartphone users think it is unacceptable to use a mobile in cinemas or theatres (60%) or in restaurants with others (59%). Despite this, 45% of smartphone users admit to having used their device in a restaurant and a fifth (22%) admit to having used it when in a cinema or theatre
  • One in four mobile phone users have donated to charity by text message. A quarter (25%) of mobile phone users have texted a donation to charity. This is more likely to be done by those aged 25-54 (30%) than by older users (15%)

In summary:

It goes without saying that we are a society obsessed with doing, watching, playing, learning, listening and communicating via our increasingly sophisticated mobile devices. As technology marches-on and internet speeds become ever-quicker, this 21st Century phenomenon will be marked in history as significantly as other Revolutions are.

For now, it just means the average Internet user wants a better experience on YOUR website and, if they are disappointed, frustrated or irritated by their experience, they’re very likely to find a similar service from one of your competitors.

For business owners, all of this adds significantly to the pressure recently imposed by Google (April 2015) for business websites to become fully mobile-friendly. If you’re not already on the case and doing something about it, here’s a previous post of ours you may find interesting: (

Either way it’s probably best not to ignore the warning signs, they’re all around you!