Mobile is now more important than desktop (I posit). You only have to look at Google’s recent changes to see that change is irrevocably afoot. 

Tom Loosemore, Deputy Director at GDS, pondered yesterday whether a significant landmark, mobile devices bringing more traffic than laptops and PCs, is near.

There’s some great stuff in his blog and I thought I’d have a look around to find some additional evidence and perhaps even make the bold claim that mobile traffic is already in the majority!

See what you think and I’d love you to add some stats from your own site to the comments below, allowing us to make a more reasoned evaluation still.

From Tom’s GDS blog:

  • More people access iPlayer on tablet than computer.
  • Since 1 January 2014,  63% of visits to GOV.UK have come from a computer,23% from a mobile and 14% from a tablet.
  • In January 2012 it was 77% computer, 15% mobile and 9% tablet.
  • Christmas Day 2013, when so-called ‘computer power visitors’ are not online, saw only 51% of visitors to GOV.UK from a computer, compared with 66% on Christmas Day 2012.

 

All this means that GDS is designing for all devices, with the rationale that people new to the web will be best served by simplified designs that suit mobile.

Interestingly, and a breath of fresh air:

Stand-alone mobile apps will only be considered once the core web service works well on mobile devices, and if specifically agreed with the Cabinet Office.

From retailers:

Retail is where I expect tablets to make the most significant land grab.

As we can see from the stats below, it’s already happened in many cases and was a trend also for Christmas 2012.

IBM reported mobile traffic grew to 58% of all Boxing Day online traffic. 

Smartphones were the source of more traffic than tablets, with 29.9% and 28% respectively and sales completed via mobile devices exceeded 45% of total online sales.

John Lewis

The caring Hare-and-Bear department store reported an impressive Christmas Day for mobile, accounting for 75% of total traffic.

Perhaps this shows that work computer use is a significant portion of computer web traffic and that if you’re targeting a mobile demographic – non-working parents for example – you should definitely have a tablet-optimised solution in retail.

From services:

Let’s look at some stats for http://www.nhs.uk/ provided by Tecmark.

  Jan-Jul 2013 Jan-Jul 2012
Visits 195,524,673 104,775,436
Mobile Visits 98,954,526 (50.61%) 75,614,541 (72.17%)

Although this data shows proportion of mobile visits (which includes tablets) to have declined from 2012 to 2013, the proportion of visits is more than 50% for the past two years.

The decline may be due to users being able to find what they need first time, sometimes on other NHS URLs like NHS Direct’s website, or using apps such as their symptom checker (a NHS direct domain).

Change has happened?

Google’s advertising business has certainly been boosted by the increase in mobile, with Youtube receiving 40% of traffic from mobile.

With 55% of companies reportedly having a mobile optimised site, perhaps the tipping point has been reached when the adaptive website becomes simply the website?