Mobile is the way the majority of us now access the internet. A huge number of us have smartphones and tablets, and there is set to be a lot more. In just five years’ time 70% of the world’s population will be using smartphones, and 90% will be covered by mobile broadband networks, according to the latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report.
Tablets are also on the rise; the tablet computer has established itself as a must-have device in just five years, with more than half of UK homes now owning one. The rapid rise in popularity of tablets means that over half of UK households (54%) now have one, up from just 2% in 2011 after Apple’s iPad launched in the UK on 28 May 2010, UK regulator Ofcom has stated.
Kate Reeve, director of consumer research at Ofcom, said: “In just five years, tablets have become a must-have device for millions of UK households. We’re using them to catch up with the news, watch our favourite soaps and keep the kids entertained, with around one in three five to 15 year olds having their own tablet.”
With those devices come a wide variety of apps and also mobile-adapted websites, which means it has become easier than ever to enjoy browsing, entertainment, news, shopping, and much more from our mobile gear, rather than having to use a desktop computer.
The increasing take up of tablets and smartphones is boosting time spent online. Apple’s iPad, which launched in the UK five years ago, alongside Android and other devices, has helped to take tablets into the mainstream, noted Ofcom. While just 5% of adults reported using a tablet to go online in 2010, this increased to 39% in 2014, Ofcom stated. Using a smartphone has more than doubled in five years, from 30% of adults in 2010 to 66% in 2014.
Thanks to the popularity of mobile internet access, many businesses have now created mobile-ready versions of their websites for ease of access from any screen, backed by the likes of Google, which has also been encouraging businesses to make their websites responsive for mobile viewing. Earlier this year, Google made it clear that websites that were responsive would be treated more favourably in terms of search engine rankings than those that were not, creating a flurry of renewed interest amongst businesses in relation to adapting their sites for mobile use.
All businesses can benefit from having a mobile-responsive website, not just to get into Google’s good books, but also to impress the customer, increase site traffic and conversions, and boost business success generally.
Entertainment and gaming has become very popular amongst mobile users, which is why companies such as Bookies.com have made their sites mobile-friendly in order to cater for this rising demand from consumers.
Online shopping from mobile devices is still on the rise and while big retailers have been mobile-friendly for some time, some smaller and perhaps more obscure firms, such as Corvette Store Online, have also recently adapted their websites in order to meet the demands of customers and to increase traffic to their sites.
Mobile access for websites is far from new, with social networking websites such as Facebook one of the first mobile-adapted sites around. Even back in 2010, 100 million people were using their mobile devices to access the social networking site and since then the number of people using mobile devices to view Facebook has rocketed.
It is time for more websites to catch up with the continuing trend towards mobile, from social networking to gambling, to car sales and entertainment; those that fail to get onboard are missing out on the most important movement since the internet was created.