Thanks to the proliferation of smart phones, mobile has seemingly taken over the web, forcing companies to build mobile-friendly experiences, or else.

But that doesn't mean that the desktop is dead. 

In fact, according to data released by comScore, despite the rapid rise in mobile usage, desktop usage has remained relatively constant over the past two years. Perhaps surprisingly, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, desktop usage might even be growing.

"The key thing to remember is that percentages are not zero-sum," Tony Haile, chief of analytics provider Chartbeat, told the Journal. "You can have mobile growing to 50% of your traffic and desktop traffic remaining healthy."

A growing pie

Indeed, comScore's data indicates that mobile usage has largely been additive to minutes spent online. In February 2013, Americans spent slightly more than 400bn minutes accessing the web via mobile.

By April of this year, that figure had grown to more than 800 billion minutes. But over that period of time desktop usage has remained consistent at around 500bn minutes per month, making it clear that instead of trading one type of device for another, Americans are spending more time than ever online using a combination of mobile and desktop devices.

According to Chartbeat's Haile, mobile usage is most prominent during morning and evening hours, while desktops still account for a large portion of activity during weekdays.

The implication for companies looking to reach consumers online: by all means continue to focus on creating great mobile experiences, but don't lose sight of the fact that many consumers continue to use their desktops.

This is especially prudent advice for companies that have shifted large portions of their digital budgets to mobile and invested heavily in native mobile apps.

While mobile is certainly worthy of dollars, few businesses can afford to turn away or turn off their desktop users.

Patricio Robles

Published 28 May, 2015 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (4)

Richard Burnett

Richard Burnett, MD at Excentra

Thanks for sharing this Patricio, I agree - desktop is not dead and shouldn't be ignored. I have written a similar article explaining the reasons why neglecting the desktop is a recipe for disaster:

about 3 years ago


Mani Gandham, CEO at Instinctive

Absolutely agree. Mobile is definitely growing and a great opportunity for marketers but it would be silly to discount the desktop. There are still hundreds of millions of desktop and laptop computers, with bigger screens and faster internet for richer experiences.

On our content marketing platform, we regularly see much longer engagement times on desktop as users are able to see and read more content, especially when video is included.

about 3 years ago


Chris Monkman, Web Developer at E-Dzine

It's the same old issue.

"This market isn't growing infinitely, it must be dead!". When will there be an acknowledgement that things slow down, or growth sometimes stops (say when the markets saturated?) Just because explosive growth has stopped does not make a market vanish.


about 3 years ago

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, Founder and Author at Fresh Relevance

"Thanks to the proliferation of *TABLETS*, mobile has seemingly taken over the web".

Last time I checked, tablets were responsible for a lot more sales than mobile phones, and ironically, most tablets were Wifi-only and hence not really mobile.

Eventually the current wave of BFPs will overtake the installed base of tablets, but meanwhile you might want to compromise by designing for something about the size of an iPad mini.

about 3 years ago

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