Internet usage has never been at a higher point than it is right now. However, that is largely thanks to the number of ways that an average person can now connect to the internet. Gone are the days in which a single access point was located in the home and shared between users. Technically speaking, there is still only a single access point in most homes and it is still shared among all users, however the difference is you can now connect multiple devices to that single point with far more ease. In the near future it is expected that the majority of devices connected to the internet will be small and low-powered IoT items. Although, it does seem to be the case that in terms of accessing the internet, smartphones are and will continue (for now) to be the main product line.
In fact, a new report published by Zenith this week looks to chart the rise of mobile internet usage. Zenith notes that in 2012, mobiles accounted for 40-percent of global internet use and since then, that number had risen to 68-percent by 2016. Zenith now predict that in 2017, the number will increase to 75-percent. Which basically means, that in 2016 “three out of every four minutes of Internet use will be accessed via a mobile device”. Zenith goes further on to note that the number will again rise to about 79-percent by 2018. Which will mean that in the years between 2012 and 2018, the percentage of internet accessed by a mobile device will have effectively, doubled.
Interestingly, the report also does highlight how mobile internet usage varies across regions. According to the data, Spain are the highest mobile internet usage country with as much as 85-percent. They are followed by Hong Kong who scored 79-percent, China who scores 76-percent and the US who comes in at 74-percent. In the joint-fifth position is India and Italy who both score 73-percent each. Which does mean that the likes of the US, Italy and India are currently just below what Zenith expects the global average to be in 2017. Although, over the next couple of years Zenith does expect the pecking order to change somewhat with the likes of Hong Kong taking the top spot by 2018 with 89-percent and closely followed by China (87-percent) and Spain (86-percent). The US is expected to remain in fourth position, although jointly with Italy (on 83-percent), while India will be just behind on 82-percent.
While reports like this are useful at the general observation level, they do also serve a much wider purpose and have more important implications. For instance, reports such as this are designed to highlight the importance of companies in becoming ‘mobile-first’ companies. Ones which looks to ensure that their advertising, brand-awareness and essentially, all facades of their public face are designed with mobile in mind. Which also does mean that the unspoken prediction that can be made from these reports, is that while internet usage accessed by a mobile is expected to increase, consumers should also expect mobile-first content to increase in tandem.