The growth of the mobile Web is on a steady rise. While pundits throw around words like “explosive” and “outrageous” the more precise word is probably “consistent.” According to analytics firm StatCounter, users accessing the Web through mobile devices has almost doubled every year since 2009. In its latest report, StatCounter says that global Internet usage through mobile devices rose to 8.5%, nearly doubling the 2011 figure of 4.3%.
StatCounter’s analytics only include cellphones, excluding tablets from the mix. The global leader in mobile Web use is Nokia at nearly 40% of usage. The firm believes that Nokia’s global dominance is due to high penetration in emerging markets like India. Apple is a strong No. 2 globally, while leading use in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Since 2009, the rate of mobile Internet use has consistently doubled every year. See the chart on the right. The global numbers reaffirm what we already know: the use of the mobile Web is permeating the everyday existence of people around the world. Developers and business can look at the numbers and be assured that the decision to go “mobile first” will eventually be the right choice. Companies that have built the foundation for success on the mobile Web now will be the future leaders of the space, from advertising to software deployment and every space in between.
While Nokia is the global leader, the strength of Apple is clear. With about 28.76% of use, Apple nearly doubles the next closest competitor, Samsung, by about 14%. If you take all the Android OEMs listed (Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony, Motorola and Sony Ericsson and “Google”), the Android OEMs make up about 24.72% of global mobile Internet usage.
Research In Motion fell about 10% from Jan. 2011 to Jan. 2012 from 18.15% to 8.3%. That is indicative of the global fall of BlackBerry sales and usage. In the U.K., BlackBerry remains the No. 2 device, behind Apple.
In North America, Apple has an astonishing lead in mobile Internet use, with 59.11%. No other OEM comes close, with Samsung holding the No. 2 spot at 11.43% and RIM third at 10.06%.
It is difficult to ascertain Apple’s dominance of the mobile Internet access. For most of 2011, Android devices outsold Apple’s iPhone globally and in the U.S. The end of the year rise is understandable as both of the U.S.’s largest carriers, AT&T and Verizon, boasted strong iPhone sales in comparison to Android, but after a year of eye-popping numbers, the Android ecosystem has not made a dent in iPhone sales in this metric. It could be attributed to user behavior or device/mobile browser performance or any of several sociological phenomena.
Outside of OEM share, one thing is clear: the mobile Internet is changing the way people access information. If history holds true, then more than one in every six Internet users in the world will be accessing the Web through cellphones by Jan. 2013.