How the exponential growth in the move from desktop to mobile affects your business

Mobile devices are quickly becoming the go-to platform for just about everything, and businesses have to adapt rapidly to ensure that they are responsive to this unwavering trend.

While most businesses are still largely desk-based, and utilise the technology that goes along with that, increased flexibility in both hardware and software ensure that businesses and consumers alike are simply spending more of their time online on a phone or a tablet.

This trend has seen mobile devices overtaking both desktops and laptops in popularity.

The state of play in the UK

According to comScore, as part of a 2017 mobile usage report, 61% of online minutes in the UK are spent on mobile devices. This is actually one of the lowest numbers in their study, coming in just behind Canada at 62%, the USA at 71% and a long way behind Indonesia, which is spotlighted simply because 91% of all minutes spent online in the country take place on phones and tablets. As of 2014, the number of mobile device owners now exceeds laptop and desktop owners in the country and the margin has grown every year since. For many, larger devices are simply unnecessary as the latest phones and tablets are more than capable of performing all of the tasks that most users would previously have used a computer for.

A global trend towards exponential growth

While specific UK figures are unavailable concerning specific growth levels on an overall basis, data from Mary Meeker in her most recent KPCB mobile technology report covers only the US, but offers a considerable insight into what is undoubtedly taking place globally. Back in 2008, internet use took place on desktops and laptops across 80% of the total time, with just 12% of browsing minutes being accounted for on mobile. This number increased slowly until 2010, at which point the exponential growth began. As of 2015, the most recent year covered in the data, 51% of US internet traffic concerned individuals making use of their phones and tablets for the purposes of consuming information and carrying out tasks.

Device availability

Returning to the UK, part of the growth comes down to the fact that just about everyone has a smartphone. According to an Ofcom report published in October 2016, 72% of respondents in the UK have a smartphone while 60% owned a tablet. Both are still behind laptops, which came in at 78%, but comfortably exceed desktop ownership which totalled 53%.

The influence of business investment

Naturally, an important element of the growth of mobile and its replacement of desktop online access stems from the fact that people can simply do just about anything on their phone. The biggest players in virtually every industry have an app, or at least a responsive online presence and it is rare for any individual to need to go for a full desktop experience or otherwise miss out on functionality.

Some industries are comfortably at the forefront and, as tradition dictates, it is no surprise to see mobile casinos being one of the main growth areas. The gambling industry has always led technology forwards and that has not changed when it comes to the development of mobile apps for gambling, with many producers releasing software and games both online and on mobile simultaneously. The same can be said of banking, and the traditional technological powerhouses such as Amazon, Google and Apple are of course heavily involved in ensuring that mobile users receive a fully-featured experience. Some are perhaps not quite as up on mobile technology as could have been predicted prior to the boom, most notably Microsoft, but it is fair to say that options are hardly limited for consumers.

The gap between mobile device and desktop ownership looks set to continue to increase in size and it is already of paramount importance for any business that is involved in the online space in any way to be able to accommodate this growth. Whether this concerns ensuring a functional mobile experience for the corporate website, the creation of a useful app or even equipping employees correctly for remote working and collaboration, this is one trend that looks unlikely to change any time soon and anyone that has not already taken action should definitely place it at the top of the to do list.