Is Mobile Search Set to Overtake Desktop Search?
That is the big question. Experts predict that mobile searches (including tablets) will dominate over desktop searches by the year 2016. Furthermore, by 2015, half of all Internet searches will be from mobile devices.
Let us review some statistics from last year from Microsoft Tag.
- There are 4 billion mobile phones in use in the whole world and 1.08 are smartphones
- Microsoft Tag predicts that by 2014, mobile Internet will overtake desktop Internet
- 86% of mobile Internet users use their phones while watching TV
- Americans spend an average of 2.7 hours socializing on their phone (more than the time they spend eating and sleeping)
- 91% of mobile access is for socializing
- The top 3 mobile use? Games, weather, maps and searches
- Over 1/3 of Facebook users use Facebook Mobile (Facebook has a base of 600 million plus)
- 50% use Twitter Mobile
- 200 million plus YouTube views on mobile each day
- 30% of mobile users accessed social networks via their mobile device’s browser search function
- Women in the 35-54 age range are the most active in mobile socialization
Furthermore, 9 out of 10 Americans own a phone and more kids have phones than books. Phones are totally changing the way we live.
Fast forward a year, in June 2012, Affiliate Window released a report about the M-Commerce industry. Affiliate Window is the leading performance marketing network in the UK so this study is more focused on the UK.
Here are a few noteworthy facts:
- Smartphone penetration reached 45% in UK and 53% of these smartphone users access the Internet through their mobile device
- M-Commerce is up by 254% in March 2012 compared to the same month of the previous year
- Mobile search spend accounts for 11% in the UK and 8% in the US
- 11.9% of website visits come from smartphones and tablets
- 13.4% of paid search clicks come from a mobile device
- Like the study above, 51% Britons access the Internet on their mobile devices while watching TV
- In may 2012, over 140,000 sales transactions came from mobile devices (more than 100% increase from last year)
- The iPad is the dominant device in the mobile device category but the iPhone still reigns supreme in the mobile phone category
Here is a table showing the sector specific traffic from Affiliate Window’s client base:
Please take note that their network is dominated largely by retail brands.
As for conversion rates, desktops still dominate over the iPad and iPhone mainly because people use their mobile devices to search for information while shopping is still done with a desktop. Surprisingly, the Blackberry has consistently given good conversion rates.
Another reason why people prefer using desktops to shop is, a lot of websites are still not optimized for mobile use. This turns off a lot of potential clients. Furthermore, a website that has been optimized doesn’t always include affiliate tracking which is essential to track conversion rates.
What does this shift mean to companies, retailers, web developers, agencies and marketers? Businesses that have not gone mobile will be highly affected by this shift. There will come a point when companies will scramble to get their lost customers back.
Since the iPad and iPhone do not support Flash and a lot of businesses use Flash in their presentations, this could mean a big trouble for Flash unless Android can overtake Apple or at least close the gap. Websites who have flash must optimize their pages for iPad and iPhone viewing.
For now, we can safely say that mobile search will overtake desktop searches in the near future. A good change is coming. The question is, are you ready for it?
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