What Percentage of Internet Traffic Is Mobile in 2023?
Updated · Mar 06, 2023
Mobile internet traffic is the hot topic of the day. Mobile device statistics in 2022 are providing us with some pretty interesting data and today we are going to break down some of the numbers for you.
Where did all that mobile traffic come from and what can we expect from here on out?
Mobile internet usage has been growing steadily since… wait!
What happened in the past 10 years that brought us to the point where mobile browsing has claimed such a huge percentage of global internet traffic?
Do you know?
Great. Stay with me and have a look at these numbers.
Staggering Stats about Mobile Internet Traffic (Editor’s Choice):
- In October 2020, 4.66 billion people were active internet users and 3.6 billion were social media users.
- More than half of all video streaming comes from a mobile device.
- In the US, consumers spent 90% of their mobile time in apps.
- Mobile internet has grown 504% in daily media consumption since 2011.
- 76% of US citizens use their phones to open and respond to emails while watching TV.
- In July 2009 only 65,000 apps used to be available on the App Store. In 2019 there were 3.262 billion, 811 million of which are gaming apps.
The internet allows us to exchange information in ways no other technology has been able to, historically. It is embedded in the foundation of what we consider modern society. If it stops for some reason, we are facing chaos.
Moore’s law captures neatly the exponential growth of modern technology. Not so long ago, the personal computer was revolutionary, then the global network interconnected us all, and suddenly we started walking around with powerful machines in our pockets that allow us to communicate, learn, orient ourselves, watch Netflix, shine a light in the dark, and wake up whenever we have to.
What caused such drastic changes in so many aspects of our lives in such a short time?
A Brief History of Mobile Internet Usage
Quite a lot actually. Let’s take a walk down memory lane:
- 2009 – the iPhone was born
- 2009 – Android released its 1.1 version
- 2010 – Netflix started international streaming
- 2010 – Facebook announced 500 million users – in 2019 there were 2.32B users
- 2010 – Twitter reached 54 million users
All those events ensured mobile internet dominance.
Fun fact: mobile internet sort of exists since 1997, on one of those primitive devices that you would only remember if you were born before 1995. Compared to what you can do online nowadays, the old one was pretty hilarious.
This particular technical revolution made all the difference in the world for humanity.
But why is that, you ask?
Well, since the invention of social media and the smartphone, the internet is not the same anymore. Our society has undergone an epic change!
I can illustrate this by answering one simple question. Namely – how many people use the internet?
In 1995 – the number was at 16 million.
In 2005 – already a little over 1 billion.
In 2011 – the number stood at an impressive 2.267 billion.
Finally, in March 2019 – we marked the number of internet users at 4.346 billion.
By the end of 2019, the number of mobile phone users was forecast to reach 5 billion.
We can do so many things with our devices that were unthinkable just 10 years ago. Playing games in the metro, watching YouTube in public transport, checking the stock market while at the grocery store…
The list goes on and on. You can also post online a picture of the cappuccino and New York cheesecake that you are enjoying right now!
Arguably, some of these seem more necessary than others. All of them, however, do their part in shaping our daily experiences.
Long-distance chats with friends, family, and colleagues are easier than ever since there are so many options, and mobile internet deals to choose from.
The world sure feels smaller in 2022.
All We Need is Mobile Internet
Turns out the world needs it more every day.
The more we use it – the more we need it.
No wonder we consume mobile web traffic at ever-growing rates.
Did you know that the release date of 5G wireless was April 11, 2019, for the US? All we have to do is wait and see how the next generation of wireless technology will impact the worlds of business and leisure.
One thing is certain:
It will definitely add new opportunities to the way we live, work, and play.
In 2022 we can safely say mobile internet is not only widely available but also extremely affordable.
Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Amazon, you name it. We carry them in our pocket all day, isn’t that convenient?
Speaking of social media…
Can imagine being able to access your accounts only on a computer or a laptop?
What a horrifying thought!
Do you think you can survive without a smartphone for a day?
Another brain freeze.
And now to the point.
What percentage of internet traffic is mobile in 2018?
53.62% of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones in 2020.
All right. That settles that.
Now, let’s carry on to the deeper aspects of this phenomenon.
Mobile Internet Usage Stats in 2022
We can agree access to mobile internet is as essential as being able to drive a car nowadays.
Actually, that is an understatement.
I happen to know lots of people who don’t have a permit or a car… or both. But I don’t know a single soul who doesn’t own a cell phone.
Why don’t we let the numbers speak for themselves:
1. From 2012 to 2018 the total daily amount of time spent on a mobile device in the US by adults jumped from 88 to 203 minutes a day.
That’s 3 hours and 23 minutes per day in 2018!
Overall mobile usage has increased massively on a global scale.
And why wouldn’t it?
Mobile devices now embody the best assistant you could possibly wish for.
What percentage of the world has a cell phone in 2018?
Let me elaborate:
In 2016, an estimated 62.9% of the population worldwide already owned a mobile phone.
For 2022, the number of smartphone users in just the United States has reached 298 million. This is roughly 80% of the total US population in 2022. Even better, the figure is expected to reach 290 million by 2024.
Our phones have become our connection to the world – sometimes they even provide us with the safe space we need. And more – we can shop, we can book a restaurant or our family’s vacation on our phones, or just spend some time on our favorite game app. Heck, I dare you to find a Minecraft hosting provider that doesn’t let you set up a mobile server.
Do you want to order food for home – burgers, preferably? No worries, I’ll use my phone. In all likelihood, I won’t actually call.
How about that game app everyone talks about? I have an hour to kill before I go to the gym, let’s check it out.
Still wondering where the time went?
I don’t think so.
Did you know that in 2019 we spent more time on the internet than on TV for the first time in history?
2. Global mobile data traffic is projected to have reached 77.49 exabytes per month by 2022 and is expected to reach 226 exabytes per month in the next five years.
Mobile traffic skyrocketed when smart devices became mainstream.
Do you know what percentage of internet traffic came from a mobile device in 2018?
In 2016 global mobile traffic bypassed data traffic generated by desktop devices and has been increasing its lead ever since.
In 2018 mobile traffic had already solidified the lead, with 52.2% of the total internet website traffic.
3. In 2022 there are 4.32 billion unique mobile internet users. The total number of active internet users is 4,660 million.
Around 90% of all internet users have mobile access, with China, India, and the US leading the way.
In 2018, China had the upper hand in terms of internet users worldwide – 804.5 million.
The number of mobile phone users in China reached 800 million in 2019.
Wait, it gets even better:
98% of all internet users in China are mobile.
That should give you some idea of where internet usage is going, right?
4. Smartphones and tablets are becoming more and more powerful, as the share of desktop web browsing traffic shrinks to 48.7%.
In other words, mobile browsing is winning the battle vs desktop in 2018, and it is winning BIG.
According to January 2018 data, the global mobile population amounted to 3.7 billion unique users.
The number of people who use a mobile device is now greater than the population of China, India, and Europe combined. The balance of mobile vs desktop traffic will never be restored again.
5. In 2017, 95% of Facebook users accessed their accounts via a mobile device.
Smartphones and tablets have entered our daily lives and they are here to stay. They are easy and fun to use. Besides, they’re a bit addictive as well, am I right?
No wonder mobile web traffic has already gained over 50% market share.
In parts, you can blame social media for that initial boost in mobile internet traffic that started it all.
Now, the number of social media users worldwide is expanding rapidly. It wass expected to grow from 2.46 billion in 2017 to around 3.02 billion in 2021 – well over a third of Earth’s entire population. It has actually surpassed that, and estimates read about 4.55 billion users.
Anyway, the influence of the mobile internet is undeniable.
For example, did you know that Instagram initially started as a mobile-only app?
And what about video streaming?
For example, do you have any idea what percentage of internet traffic is Netflix?
In 2018, Netflix accounted for 15% of the total internet traffic, while YouTube – for another 11.4%.
Often, it so happens that you grab your device and just want to check the hour or your email… Only to spend 30 minutes on it without noticing.
Cheer up, you are not the only one!
6. YouTube is responsible for 37% of all mobile internet traffic. In comparison, Facebook accounts for only 8.4% and Instagram – for 5.7%
Website traffic statistics show YouTube users consume the most content.
If that’s not enough, what about this:
70% of all videos on YouTube today are streamed via a mobile device.
Site traffic estimates indicate 1 billion mobile views take place on YouTube every day.
In the US, YouTube was the most popular mobile video streaming service in 2018, with 69% of the total viewership. Next came Netflix with 38.4%.
And here’s another fascinating fact:
What percentage of the overall internet traffic is mobile in 2021 (not only site-browsing statistics but all kinds of traffic)?
The global percentage of mobile traffic out of the total internet web traffic in January 2022 is 56.89%.
Mind you, this excludes tablets.
The figure for Asia is 65.2%.
For Africa, it’s at 69.13%.
North America lands at 48.49%.
7. Since October 2016, mobile and tablet traffic has overtaken desktop traffic, according to Statcounter.
Google has already introduced mobile-first indexing!
What is that, you say?
Basically, if your clients hit the link via their smartphone and all they get is a mini version of the website – well, ouch!
More on the topic – in a moment.
8. 82% of all smartphone shoppers conduct ‘near me’ searches.
We rarely give any thought to the so-called local searches. Still, they are there and they’re useful!
Again, your phone is acting as a personal assistant – after all, it is a smartphone for a reason.
Are you still wondering why mobile web traffic stats indicate it’s exploding?
Here comes a big one.
9. Roughly 40% of Black Friday sales in 2021 came from mobile orders.
That’s 6.5% more than in 2018.
2021 Black Friday and Thanksgiving marked high-grossing US e-commerce sales days, with $8.9 billion and $5.1 billion in online spending respectively. Thanksgiving spending for 2021 matched 2020, but Black Friday fell short by about one decimal.
Therefore the total 2021 online revenue from Black Friday and Thanksgiving sales was $14 billion. 44.4% came from mobile purchases. Cyber Monday 2021 raised $10.7 billion. There was a 90% increase in the use of mobile to take advantage of sales.
10. 44.7% of all e-commerce retail in the US for 2018 came from mobile purchases.
Online shopping is one of the most popular online activities nowadays.
Mobile commerce, or M-commerce, influences shopping behavior more and more each year.
In 2021, an estimated 2.14 billion people worldwide have purchased goods online. Sounds like pretty lucrative ground for shopping cart websites.
Nevertheless, people still prefer using a desktop PC for the bulk of their online purchases.
11. 2017 marked the beginning of mass mobile online shopping with 34.5% of the total e-commerce market. The forecast for 2021 is 53.9%.
Shopping is addictive. Many people even consider it a hobby. It brings pleasure, the adrenaline from the money spent, and satisfaction.
As of February 2017, Amazon was the most popular shopping app in the US with a mobile reach of 40 percent, ranking well ahead of local competitors Walmart and eBay.
The ability to shop through your smartphone took things to the next level.
The mobile web is booming. The forecasts for the next years show as much.
Shopping via your smartphone is enjoyable, hassle-free, and, most importantly – convenient. (Well, it is still impossible to shop online underwater. I wish I was able to buy a pair of shoes while swimming with friends near a coral reef. Sounds reasonable to me!)
12. 218 billion apps were downloaded in 2020. The estimate for 2021 was 258.2 billion apps.
In the US 90% percent of consumers’ mobile time is spent in apps.
The growth of all things mobile is evidence enough that apps have a bright future ahead of them.
App Store and Google Play Store registered revenues of $46.6 billion and $24.8 billion respectively in 2018. While it was estimated that 258.2 million would be downloaded in 2021, the actual number fell short at 230 million.
OK, moving on.
Let’s talk SEO.
Mobile SEO in 2022
What is mobile SEO?
Easy: it’s optimizing your website for users who browse on mobile devices.
Yes, but are there any caveats you should know about?
To optimize your website’s profits, mobile web and responsive design should be your priority. Easy navigation, quick loading times, and smooth experience among all devices are a must.
Mobile SEO steals all the attention nowadays. There are so many factors in that game.
Don’t forget that Google shifted focus toward mobile sites some time ago.
The Era of Mobile-First Indexing Has Already Begun
Mobile traffic has reached incredible heights. As a result, Google has taken the proper measures to ensure each query returns the best possible results for mobile.
The majority of Google searches now come from mobile devices and the search engine is adjusting to put responsive pages first.
Times have changed and we must adapt. It doesn’t make sense anymore to send people to a website designed for desktops exclusively when most users are on their mobile device.
Fortunately, it is relatively easy to find a decent responsive design - even most website builders let you set up a fully responsive website.
If your site is not responsive, its Google ranking will suffer.
User Behaviour – What Has Changed?
Do you have your cell phone near you right now? Actually… Are you accessing Hosting Tribunal on mobile?
The answer, at least to the first question, is almost always “Yes”. And therein lies the efficiency of mobile internet.
Mobile technology invaded our personal space and it is here to stay!
It also brings along a lot of perks, of course. For example:
How often does your phone suggest the best and closest option for you to do something?
Actually, that is:
The Incredible Power of Local Search
You don’t know what that means?
I’ll walk you through it:
Let’s say it’s lunchtime and I am craving a burger (tomato and pickles, generously bathed in Carolina Reaper sauce). But… I don’t want the same old burger I always have and I’m in a mood for something new. What to do?
The answer is: Mobile SEO
You heard me.
I will google “I want a burger near me” and will have it a few minutes later.
Google automatically understands and supports my fast food craving and the urge to explore a new restaurant. Naturally, it gives me a list of all the burger places I can try based on my location. It will also give me the address, some reviews, and a couple of pictures to get me hooked.
(Now I really want a burger…)
Mobile SEO is everywhere. The number of mobile searches is snowballing.
A 2017 survey revealed 81% of smartphone owners in the United States used their phones while eating at a restaurant, and 92% did the same while out shopping.
According to Google, there are 27.8 billion more queries performed on mobile than on desktop.
Now, do you know:
What is the Difference Between Desktop and Mobile Searches?
In the last few years, Google’s developers have spent a lot of time working on certain new features. Mobile and location enhancements were designed to make our mobile searches return the best pages and best prices.
Now, a great way to understand customers is to study how their behavior impacts keyword queries.
For example, researchers noticed visible growth in question-based queries performed on mobile devices. Mobile searches are a result of an immediate need for information, which can explain why that is. Users on mobile have high expectations and low patience.
On the other hand, desktop searches are longer. Users are more likely to take extra time to do research when using a desktop machine.
84% of Smartphone Shoppers Use Their Phones While in a Physical Store.
Mobile internet has thoroughly changed our shopping experience.
Researching a product online before we make the actual purchase is no longer an extravagance, but it is becoming a kind of necessity.
And why not?
You deserve the best quality and the best price!
The Breakthrough in Voice Searches
Why type when you can just say it?
It was predicted that by 2022, 50% of all searches across the internet would be voice-based, however, the official stats aren't in yet.
The innovation has revolutionized the notion of searching the web.
Even today, 20% of the searches on a mobile device are already voice-based.
Fascinatingly enough, more than 20% of voice search queries are triggered by a combination of only 25 keywords.
Voice searches are faster and easier. They are fun and can prove very useful, especially when you’re doing something else with your hands.
Another internet trend is to decrease security risks across the board.
How Much of the Internet Traffic is Encrypted?
According to recent research, more than 50% of the traffic on the internet is encrypted.
That’s just an estimate, apparently, as the actual numbers are likely even higher.
Google has a special “transparency” page that says how much of the traffic is encrypted. The search engine giant also gives priority to web pages with SSL, which is why it is always a good idea to get a quality SSL from a reputable provider.
YouTube and Netflix have also made an effort to support encrypted video streaming.
Anyway, it is not a bad idea to immunize yourself against the threats that are lurking out there.
Apps, Social Media, and Mobile Gaming
Apps are more popular than ever – entertainment, shopping, photo, and video editors, video streaming apps – you name it.
Mobile apps by 2020 were expected to create more than $189 billion in revenue through in-application advertising and app purchases. In terms of spending alone, it reached $133 billion in 2021, up 20% from 2020.
In 2015, the global mobile app revenue had already reached $69.7 billion.
The number of social network users worldwide is expected to grow from 2.46 billion in 2017 to around 3.02 billion in 2021, reaching over a third of Earth’s entire population.
Spending time on a social network on your mobile device was hard to imagine just 10 years ago.
(Let me just remind you again that the first iPhone was released in 2009.)
10 years have passed and we have come to a point where 52% of all internet traffic is mobile.
As of January 2018, some 61% of users in North America accessed social media via a mobile device, while the global mobile social penetration rate was 34%.
For the record, Hosting Tribunal is seeing a steady increase in mobile users over the past few months.
Gaming apps enjoy a great deal of popularity.
They are the favorite pastime of the 21st century.
You can carry all the games you want in your pocket.
Well, technically your smartphone carries them, but still.
(Again, the underwater conundrum surfaces. Why can’t we borrow a submarine and look for those little Pokemons somewhere around the waters of Madagascar…)
Mobile gaming has been gaining new ground quite consistently since its inception.
In the first half of 2021 alone, people spent $44.7 billion on mobile gaming apps. For reference, the spending for the entirety of 2018 was 54.7 billion.
They are fun, you can get many of them for free. Alternatively, you can pay a few bucks for the latest and most talked-about app.
The mobile gaming market has been constantly growing since it first came to life. The future looks bright for this industry.
Mobile Internet Usage Is Bound to Grow
In 2019 mobile data reached 28.56 exabytes per month. By 2022 it is expected to reach 77.49 exabytes per month.
Mobile online shopping is the future!
In the battle of mobile vs desktop, mobile has already won. It will continue to attract more attention with each passing year.
Desktop internet usage still has its place. It still offers a higher conversion rate and is crucial for business success.
But when we have all the information we could possibly need at the top of our fingertips, there are no more limits.
If you’ve ever wondered what percentage of internet web traffic is mobile, now you know.
It has already crossed the 50% mark and is growing.
The online future is largely mobile.
Unaware that life beyond the internet exists, Nick is poking servers and control panels, playing with WordPress add-ons, and helping people get the hosting that suits them.