Autumn 2020 summary of consumer mobile usage and adoption: Use these mobile marketing statistics to inform your digital marketing strategy and mobile user experience
"Mobile to overtake fixed Internet access by 2014" was the huge headline summarizing this bold 2008 mobil marketing prediction by Mary Meeker, an analyst at Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers reviewing technology trends. That same year, Eric Schmidt of Google exhorted businesses to take a 'Mobile First' approach to designing web experiences.
12 years later, with usage shooting up amongst all demographics, mobile marketing statistics are more vital digital markers engaging their audience than ever before. Now, more than half of all web traffic is mobile.
Interestingly, this trend is set to continue, with the Ericsson Mobility Report predicting a 25% increase in mobile traffic by 2025. Much of this traffic will come from increased video and streaming on mobile, something we will cover later on in this summary.
Mobile marketing - what you need to know
The mobile statistics that the team at Smart Insights curate in the regular updates to this article are grouped under these headings for key questions marketers need to answer about mobile to help them compete:
- Q1. Time spent using mobile media
- Q2. Percentage of consumers using mobile devices
- Q3. How many website visits are on mobile vs desktop devices?
- Q4. Mobile conversion rates vs desktop and visit share for e-commerce sites?
- Q5. Mobile video usage?
- Q6. How important are mobile ads?
- Q7. What percentage of Google Searches are on mobile?
Countries covered in this compilation?
This global compilation looks at data from across the world to inform trends. Notably, more 25% of today's global smartphone users are in China, with the Asian Pacific making up 55% of global smartphone users. The United States and United Kingdom are also singled out in many of these reports.
So that's the intro showing the importance of mobile, let's dig into the details to prove it.
Q1. How much time do consumers spend using mobile media?
Mobile media use varies through the day. This is important to understand for dayparting, i.e. buying AdWords and display media. This daypart media use from comScore Global Digital Future in Focus shows how desktop is still important for daytime at work audiences, but Tablet and smartphone dominate in the evening.
Recorded in 2018, the report constituted a valuable report for marketers ever since. But recent data by Wordstream shows the pandemic has caused a change in behaviour including an increase in late-night search. This report covers both mobile and desktop but I think it's fair to say it is very relevant for mobile search right now.
The implications are increasingly clear - if you're not able to reach your audience through mobile search or display, or you're not providing a satisfactory mobile experience, you will miss out compared to competitors who are.
Q2. Percentage of consumers using mobile devices?
In July 2020, Datareportal recorded 5.15 billion unique mobile users, making up 66% of the global population. In fact, between 1 April - 30 June 2020, the number of mobile app downloads this year increased 13% year on year, to a whopping 35 billion. No doubt Zoom has played its part in that one.
The 2020 Ofcom UK benchmark found that, in the UK, over four-fifths of time spent online is now spent on mobile devices. As time spent on mobile phones increases steadily year on year, rapid diffusion of household smart devices has driven up this figure over the last couple of years. In fact, in 2020 over a fifth of UK adults had a smart speaker in the home.
We recommend you understand this multichannel switching behaviour for your own brand. Our blog about using qualitative analytics for understanding mobile users' behaviour to boost conversion recommends a number of tools for measuring this. It's important to keep track of the split between users of mobile and desktop devices visiting your site(s0, using segments in Google Analytics is the best way to do this.
Q3. How many website visits are on mobile vs desktop devices?
However, we need to be careful with interpreting data on hours spent, since we spend most of our time on smartphones using social media, texting, calling and checking email. Demonstrated in this insightful bar chart from ZDNet, comparing US Milennials and Boomes, both spend much less time using the internet than the above activities.
Eric Schmidt, then Chairman of Google, talked about a Mobile-First approach. The reality is that while smartphone use is overwhelmingly popular for some activities such as social media, messaging and catching up with news and gossip, the majority of consumers in western markets also have desktop (and tablet) devices which they tend to use for more detailed review and purchasing.
So we need to think about strategies to engage the Multichannel Majority not simply 'mobile first' or 'smartphone adoption'. Audience measurement platform comScore has talked for some time about strategies to engage and measure the multiplatform majority across devices and I think there will, or should be, more focus on that in the years ahead.
So with so many site visits still on desktop, it's important when designing using a responsive web design that the desktop experience isn't degraded and this has led to many larger businesses using an adaptive web design where layout and content are tailored for desktop, tablet and smartphone screen dimensions.
Q4. Mobile device conversion rates and visit share for e-commerce sites?
We have a separate compilation of e-commerce conversion stats if you're creating a business case for mobile-optimized sites as explained in our mobile marketing strategy guide. This data is also valuable since it shows the variation in conversion rate by mobile type. This is the latest data from Kibo Monetate for their retail clients showing conversion rates.
Smartphone conversion on mobile has increased dramatically over the last 4 quarters. The latest quarterly update from 2020 shows, particularly in the States, there is now only a very small difference between desktop and mobile conversion rates. Interestingly, global tablet conversion rates are even higher than desktop!
However, when analyzing by order value, it is clear that desktop is still the top dog. If you're planning responsive web optimization, this data is very valuable since it shows the average order value on mobile, tablet and desktop.
Q5. Mobile media time - 63% of mobile traffic is video, set to grow to 76% by 2025.
Consumer preference for mobile apps vs mobile sites should also be thought through as part of mobile strategy.
We have seen at the start of this article that mobile dominates digital minutes, but where are these mobile minutes happening? Ericson Mobility Report 2020 found video currently accounts for 63% of mobile traffic. The main driver for this behaviour is the rapid diffusion of a wide range of video content such as embedded video in web browsing, social media, plus increased video streaming and sharing services.
Q6. Mobile set to outpace desktop ad spending by 2020
So, how have advertisers responded to the change in mobile media time? The next chart from Statista shows that mobile ad spend is rapidly catching up desktop spend, set to outpace desktop by 2022.
Interestingly, since this chart was published, we have seen more evidence for mobile ad spend victory - in the changes made to advertising due to the pandemic. As demonstrated below, mobile ad revenue and CMP proved much more resilient to the dramatic changes in March 2020 than desktop, laptop and tablet. Not surprisingly, Connected TV advertising revenue surged during this locked-down period.
|Mobile Ad spending- Billions $||28.7||40.5||49.8||57.7||65.8
|Percentage change||50%||41%||23% ||16%||14%
|Percentage of digital ad spending||49%||60.4%||66.6%||69.7%||72.2%
Q7. How consumers research products using mobile search and review sites
The beneficial relationship between search and reviews has long been recognized by marketers - for all channels. Positive, recent, reviews give your site authority which is valued by both humans and search engine algorithms, enabling your business to stand out right from the top of the funnel.
When searching for reviews, mobile phone usage has increased but is still behind desktop in terms of the number of searches, according to Bright Local.
However, interestingly, it seems the value of mobile marketing comes into play later in the decision-making process. A recent retail report by eMarketer states that internet users looking for more information in-store often skip approaching retail associates and go directly to their smartphones:
Sixty-nine percent of respondents said they would look for reviews on their phone first, and 53% would search for deals before speaking with an employee.
The best sources for reviewing mobile marketing statistics in 2020?
This update to this post features some of the latest updates on mobile statistics and we will continue to update them through the year. But more recent data can be sourced. To conclude we highlight some of the best sources to make the business case for investment in mobile marketing in your presentations and business cases to colleagues or clients.
- 1. Google Consumer Barometer is a regular survey for different countries starting in 2011, this enabled you to prepare your own reports. Google's Consumer barometer enables you to create similar reports.
- 2. Flurry Mobile Analytics is a great source for showing the overall level of app usage across the four major mobile app platforms by country and drilling down into the popularity of individual apps for different sectors like retail, banking and travel. For example, the latest mobile app growth figures from Flurry show growth of category use by more than 50% in many categories.
- 3. Datareportal publishes a bi-annual Global Digital Overview, covering global snapshots of internet usage, social media, mobile phone usage and e-commerce. The report, a collaboration of We Are Social and Hubspot marketing data analysis, comes with key headline figures and takeaways.
- 4. Ofcom Internet usage report. Ofcom’s most recent International Communications Market Report was published last December, this examines take-up, availability, price and use of broadband, landlines, mobiles, TV, radio and post across 17 major countries.
We hope this compilation of statistics about mobile usage and effectiveness continues to be useful - please share if it is and we'll continue to update it.