It doesn’t take a genius to know that mobile devices have been slowly replacing the traditional desktop, and its only a matter of time before mobile becomes the king of browsing. It’s not a hard leap to make as responsive design matures into a force that will one day make all websites available for all devices.
Stats from a number of sources, suggest that 2014 is the year mobile devices will reach parity with its desktop counterpart. Furthermore, once it reaches this critical point, it will go on to overtake the desktop and become the number one browsing tool on the planet.
We know that the flexibility of mobile devices has never been in doubt, and it is for this very reason that they have become so popular. It’s estimated that over 40million people own a mobile device in he UK alone. Add in the rest of the world and there will be a global base of billions of mobile device users.
Billions of devices means billions of users accessing the web via a mobile device, but how will they access the web? Which browser will they be using? And what will they be using their mobile device for? Mobile devices by definition include smart phones and tablets.
Developing countries are still mobile-friendly and while 3G is prevalent, it is not available to all. This determines to an extent how user use the web. Look back five years or more and WAP and two inch screens were still a viable mobile solution in the UK, across Europe and in the US.
The next step for mobile is 4G, and the infrastructure for the new super fast mobile is in full swing especially if you live in a major city in the UK. The US, Europe, China, South America and a host of African nations are ready with 4G. However, adoption of the network is slow and the cost can be a stumbling point for many. Nevertheless users will catch up very quickly and only reinforce the need to be mobile-friendly.
So which mobile browsers are popular? This is determined somewhat by the device a person uses, with IOS and Android as major players. this means users will be presented, by the standard default choice of Sarafri (IOS) or Chrome (Android). Looking at worldwide statistics it is Chrome that leads with over 30 percent of the market share and Safari unsurprising comes in second with 20 percent. Sitting in third place is Opera which is a popular choice on older devices.
Now that you know the big winners in the browser battle, what are the factors that are driving users to mobile? The obvious is the ‘access anywhere’ model, but without matching services the premise is a little dry. Mobile commerce is one area that is driving the switch, as online shopping is big business. It is estimated by Google that over 15% of purchases are now made online and the rest being made in a physical shop. A more revealing statistic is that 39 percent of instances when a customer walks out the store without purchasing can be attributed to a smart phone as customers can instantly discover if there is a better deal elsewhere.
So, finally and simply put, if you are not ready for mobile, you should be. Otherwise you better get ready to be left behind.