Number of people using mobile-only internet soars
Hits 40.7 million this year, study finds, up 27 percent in just two years
February 21, 2017
If advertisers have any doubt about the importance of hopping onto mobile, this should convince them.
The number of mobile-only internet users is rising quickly, boosted by lower data prices for smartphone plans and an increasing disdain for the clunkiness of desktop devices, which offer none of the convenience of mobile.
A new forecast from eMarketer projects mobile-only users will hit 40.7 million this year. That’s up 27 percent from 2015, when there were only 32.1 million of them.
By 2021, there will be 52.3 million mobile-only users, representing nearly a fifth of all U.S. internet users.
As you’d expect, the number of desktop-only users is falling as mobile-only rises. This year, there will be 17.9 million. By 2021, that will fall to just 10.7 million.
Of course, a good number of people will continue to use both mobile and desktop. That’s in part owing to the fact that desktops remain the preferred format for work.
Still, it’s important for media buyers and planners to track these habits to see where their clients’ dollars should be going. And it’s clear mobile is that place.
Driven to mobile
The iPhone has been around for a decade now, truly ushering in the era of mobile. Though there were smartphones before then, Apple really popularized the device and started pushing mobile toward the tipping point.
For several years now, more people have browsed the web using mobile devices than desktop. And the pricing of both smartphones and data plans has begun to fall.
Verizon, for instance, recently reintroduced its unlimited data plan, not long after insisting it would never bring it back, forced to do so by the telecom market forces.
And Gen Z strongly prefers mobile to desktop, having grown up with smartphones and using them to perform all manner of communications their parents did on desktop.
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