Mobile Usage Trends for 2017

Mobile Trends

With the rapid proliferation of mobile devices worldwide, it can be daunting to keep up with the trend. Many businesses are lagging in their exposure to the mobile market. Why is that so important? Consider the mobile usage trends heading into 2017:

Mobile usage passes desktops

We are well beyond the tipping point of desktop PC usage dominating the market. Mobile device usage in the US has been ahead of PC’s for some years now, with current estimates at 42% of users exposed to digital media on a desktop device as opposed to 51% from a mobile device.

Desktop Users

Mobile Users

If you have not yet catered to mobile audiences through your website design and mobile apps, you are missing out on a large share of the market. But what specific information do we have regarding these mobile users?

When everyone used desktop PC’s, layout design was easy. Everyone had horizontal screens. However, vertical layout is now dominating the market, thanks mostly in part to mobile devices. And if that’s not enough, the use of smaller “smart” devices such as smart watches are on the rise, so that’s going to be another avenue that can not be overlooked.

Mobile visits vs desktop visits

Okay, we know more mobile devices are being used. But what about frequency? Although more mobile devices are in circulation, does the average user still spend more time on a desktop device? Well, the answer is not completely cut-and-dry.

The truth is, it depends on the type of media being accessed. Mobile devices are used much more for activities such as checking emails, social media, and gathering the daily news. But some tasks have not migrated so easily away from the desktop market. These include things such as online shopping, research, and item/product comparisons. So we see that although the need to focus on catering to mobile devices exists across the board, depending on the usage, many users will still prefer to use a desktop computer.

Of particular interest is the fact that widespread tracking analytics show that many users- especially millennials- actually switch between multiple devices fairly often, even for the same task. This presents a challenge to website design to cater to both desktop and mobile users while not degrading the operability of either and keeping the company branding consistent across layouts. It’s important to remember that your visitors may be accessing your website from a desktop, a tablet, a mobile phone, or all three! In addition, they could be viewing the site from a horizontal or vertical layout. Therefore, it is important to keep navigation, layout, coloring, and branding consistent across all devices.

Websites vs mobile apps

Mobile App 90%
Browser 10%

When using a mobile device, the preference for a mobile app is astonishingly high. Approximately 90% of a user’s time on a mobile device will be within a mobile app vs only 10% of their time on a browser. This is overwhelming evidence showing how necessary it is for businesses to cater to these millions of users by developing mobile apps that are extremely versatile and user friendly. After all, if your mobile app is lacking in design (UI), operability, or functionality, they will gladly uninstall your app and use another- there are no shortage of apps available to download and install.

On average, mobile usage continues to increase at a rate of about 58% year-over-year

This statistic is key as companies have finally seen the need for mobile friendly websites, but they now need to pay attention so as not to fall behind the curve and end their attention of mobile users there. It is essential to recognize the fact that the majority of internet users are not only using mobile devices, but by a huge margin prefer to operate from within a mobile app.

What does the future have in store? Well, there is still room for growth in the mobile market. On average, mobile usage continues to increase at a rate of about 58% year-over-year. In stark contrast, desktop usage, while still paying an integral role in internet-capable devices, does continue to decline at a steady rate. Therefore, stay ahead of the curve. Keep up-to-date of the latest trends and do not fail to recognize the importance of catering to mobile device users by providing a modern, intuitive mobile app.

I am a Xamarin Certified Mobile Developer with over 20 years experience as a software engineer and 8+ years experience with .NET C#/VB development.


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