On Friday I wrote about a Pew survey that found that 55% of mobile phone owners (out of the 2,200 surveyed) use the device of access the internet. But what does that look like on a global scale?
According to an article in All Things D, there are seven billion people on the planet, nearly 6 billion mobile phones but only 1.2 billion PCs. That’s a pretty stark difference between devices that can be used for traditional web browsing and mobile web browsing. In the past few years the growth of mobile phone ownership has been outpacing that of PCs – a trend that will likely continue. Why are people turning to mobile phones rather than computers for the internet? One reason is the ease and portability mobile offers. But the heaviest influence is the rapidly improving nature of mobile web (cloud computing/data is making the mobile web faster and more powerful) coupled with the stagnant state of traditional internet access, particularly in emerging markets. From All Things D:
In emerging markets such as China and India, the world’s two most populous countries, the mobile browser is a critical channel that connects people to the Internet in ways that the PC browser never did. For many people, it is their only connection point to the Internet — take Indonesia, for example, where linking its thousands of islands by a fixed nationwide network was prohibitively expensive, so they prioritized the build-out of a mobile network.
Since cellphones are much cheaper than computers, and the mobile Internet is much more accessible than fixed-line Internet in emerging markets, users purchase their first cellphones much earlier than their first computers, which sets user habits to surf the Web through cellphones.
As further evidence that mobile web usage is starting to surpass traditional web access, mobile became the dominate way of accessing the internet in both India and China earlier this year.
Check out why else All Things D sees mobile web overtaking PCs in the years to come.