UK Mobile Traffic Statistics: Mobile and Tablet set to overtake desktop by mid 2014

mobile-upIntelligent Positioning have conducted a poll of mobile traffic share, compared to desktop traffic share over the course of 2013. We used our rich Analytics data, affording us data comprised of over 175 million visits in 2013 for the survey.

Key findings:

  • Mobile (tablet and smartphone) share of traffic increased from 22.8% to 37% in 2013
  • Desktop’s share of traffic decreased from 77.3% to 62.9% in 2013
  • Over a third of all traffic is now on a handheld mobile or tablet device
  • Desktop’s share of traffic dropped significantly in August
  • Tablet traffic had peaks of share in May and December
  • If rates continue, then mobile and tablet visits are set to overtake desktop during summer 2014.

Our Mobile Traffic Statistics Methodology

This research examined 10 websites across Intelligent Positioning’s extensive Analytics data which equates to over 175m annual visits. A diverse range of sectors were surveyed including retail, financial services, technology and beauty. The average share of desktop and mobile traffic (smartphone and tablet devices) was calculated across the websites examined for each month from January 2013 – December 2013. Our survey showed a consistent growth in the share of mobile audience, threatening desktop’s current majority share of website traffic.

Mobile traffic increased from 22.8% to 37% in 2013

As 2013 began, mobile traffic accounted for a 22.75% portion of total website visits in the survey. This share grew steadily over 2013 resulting in mobile share edging closer to 40% of website visits to the websites polled in December.

Chart 1: Average Mobile share of website traffic in January and December 2013

Mobile traffic share surges in August.

Interestingly there was a spike in mobile traffic during August, as people spent less time at home in the office and instead opted to spend their time online on mobile devices whilst outdoors and away.

A mobile and tablet audience spike in December is illustrative of the surge in mobile audience seen by the John Lewis website over the holiday period. On Christmas day, the retailer found three quarters of their website traffic originated from mobile and tablet users as people were at home trying out their Christmas presents. In our survey a comparable retail website showed 62% mobile and tablet traffic on Christmas day, up from 47% on the same day in 2012.

Chart 2: Desktop versus Mobile and Tablet Traffic (January – December 2013)



More traffic is coming from mobile devices than tablets.

Smartphone traffic was a clear winner against traffic coming from tablets in the survey. Supporting the findings in the previous charts we can see smartphone use increasing during the summer holiday period in August, and tablet usage spiking during time spent at home over December. Overall traffic increased to the websites polled. Mobile traffic increased by 140% whilst desktop slightly declined by -2%. Research from Google has supported these findings, also finding a slight drop in desktop use whilst mobile traffic explodes. Their survey found we are more and more conducting simple tasks on-the-go using smartphones or tablets, meaning laptops and PCs are relegated to more complicated or in-depth uses.

Chart 3: Smartphone and mobile traffic against desktop traffic (January – December 2013)

mobile tablet and desktop

Traffic share between mobile devices and tablet remain relatively steady over 2013.

Although both smartphone and tablet visits rose over the twelve months surveyed, proportionally they remained relatively steady over the year.

Despite m-commerce number growing steadily, some research suggests mobile retail is still slow to gain traction in being perceived as trustworthy. Instead consumers are using smartphones whilst on the move to research products they will purchase later on their desktops and laptops. This research, supported by the results from our survey, highlights the increasing importance of a site optimised for mobile usage. Adding to the urgency to optimize mobile sites, Google is now releasing penalties for slow rendering mobile sites.

Chart 4: Smartphone and tablet traffic share (January – December 2013)

mobile versus tablet

Mobile and tablet traffic share to overtake desktop by July 2014, particularly interesting for Mcommerce

Using the data from the survey we forecast the point in 2014 mobile share will overtake desktop, if mobile and tablet traffic share maintains its current growth rate. The graph below shows this could happen as soon as July, especially if there is a repeat of the mobile traffic spike over the summer months we saw in 2014.

Chart 5: Desktop and mobile traffic share 2013 with forecast for 2014 (January 2013-July 2014)

forecast 2014

We will be back next quarter for an updated account of the mobile traffic to our analytics data.