And in the process, designers, programmers and product stakeholders continue to ask questions about the mobile landscape, from demographics to usage.
We first presented a number of facts and insights in 2013.
Here’s an updated version with some new additions and a look back on how accurate some of the 2013 projections were. I’ve again included as many sources as possible so you can double check our conclusions.
- Around 57% of US and 68% of UK mobile phones are smartphones. That’s up from 50% and 52% respectively in 2013. Singapore and South Korea both have over 80% smartphone rates. It’s anticipated that around half the world’s mobile phones will be smartphones by 2017 and 25% of the global population will have a smartphone.
- A bit more than half the US Internet population owns a tablet, which is more than double the 2013 rate. Android has the dominant mobile operating system, with about 53% compared to iOS’s 39%. Things were more evenly split in 2013.
- The tablet browsing share was expected to overtake smartphones and reach 10% by 2014, but it plateaued below that mark as larger phone screens[pdf] have grown in popularity.
- Tablet usage is still most popular in the evening. We found the most concentrated time was used at home, on the couch, or bed between 7 and 10pm in our studies. It’s not surprising then that 93% of tablet browsing is done via WiFi[pdf] versus cellular.
- US users have on average twice as many apps as in 2013: 42 apps on smartphones, and 35 on tablets. Nearly 90% use less than 10% of those apps on a daily basis and most people forget what apps they even downloaded as low-value apps get banished to the 3rd or 4th screen on their mobile device.
- Mobile applications are predominantly used for killing time.
- Users still slightly prefer shopping on mobile websites, with 58% of mobile revenue coming from mobile websites compared to 42% for native applications.
- 84% of smartphone shoppers use their devices in-store[pdf]. Price comparisons[pdf] is now the most common in-store smartphone use across shopping categories. Those who use their mobile devices to help shop tend to spend more.
- Tablet sales increased by 68% from 2012 to 2013, while PC shipments dropped by 98%.
- Device switching is now very common, with 40% of online adults switching activities to another device–60% switched to a laptop, and only 25% switched to a tablet.
- QR code use has flattened in recent years, continuing a pattern we saw in 2013.
- For tablets, viewing is still about evenly split between portrait and landscape, with a slight preference to landscape (60% of the time) for iPad users.
- The conversion rate from tablets (about 3%) is 3 times higher than smartphones (about 1%). Tablet conversion rates are increasing while smartphones conversion rates have declined.
- Around half of internet shoppers use multiple devices while shopping.
- Security concerns remain the predominant barrier to mobile purchases, followed by the inconvenience of entering large amounts of data on a mobile device–something we still see in our 1:1 mobile usability tests.
While the mobile landscape continues to change, many patterns continue to hold. We’ll see how things look in the next couple years.