Mobile’s Share of Internet Use in Key Markets Has Doubled Since 2011

October 23, 2017

Don’t expect mobile devices’ influence in digital consumption and advertising to stall anytime soon. With smartphone penetration expected to climb to 2 out of every 3 people in 52 key countries by next year, digital media will continue to skew more mobile, according to Zenith’s latest forecast.

Mobile Closing in on Three-Quarters of Internet Use

Zenith estimates that mobile devices will account for 70% of time spent using the internet this year across the 52 countries examined, which collectively account for 65% of the world’s population.

That represents almost twice the share from 2011 (35%), with mobile’s influence continuing to grow to 73% of time spent next year and an expected 76% in 2019.

Spain leads the pack with an estimated 81% of time spent with the internet coming from mobile devices this year, with Italy (78%) next on the list. Some of the world’s largest markets follow, with China and the US each spending upwards of three-quarters (77%) of internet time with mobile devices, and India not far behind at 73%.

For comparison’s sake, comScore recently reported that mobile devices accounted for 66% of time spent with the internet in June of this year.

Mobile’s Share of Ad Spend Trails, Still in the Majority

Mobile’s share of digital ad spend has traditionally lagged its share of internet use. That may be partly due to inertia, and also partly due to lagging performance in some areas. For example, while the retail sector is the biggest digital advertising vertical in the US, a desktop visitor is worth almost 4 times more to a retailer than a smartphone visitor.

Nonetheless, ad spending is following eyeballs, and Zenith predicts that mobile devices will account for a majority (53%) of digital ad spend in the 52 markets this year for the first time. That figure is expected to climb to 59% next year and to 62% in 2019, when mobile ad spending is projected to account for 26% of all ad spending.

The IAB has reported that mobile accounted for a majority (51%) share of US ad spend for the first time in 2016, while a more recent forecast from MAGNA calls for mobile to capture half of all US ad spending by 2022.

2 in 3 Individuals to Own A Smartphone Next Year

On average, 66% of people in the 52 countries covered by Zenith will own a smartphone next year, up from 63% this year and 58% last year, per the report.

Recently, the International Telecommunications Union reported that the number of mobile broadband subscriptions has grown by more than 20% per annum over the last 5 years, reaching more than 56 per 100 inhabitants worldwide.

Growth in the number of smartphone owners is naturally expected to decline, as penetration reaches saturation in many markets.

Those markets include the Netherlands, with its high of 94% penetration predicted next year. Taiwan (93%), Hong Kong (92%), Norway (91%) and Ireland (91%) are each also expected to top 90% smartphone penetration next year.

The largest markets in terms of sheer number of smartphone users will be China (1.3 billion), India (530 million) and the US (229 million), per Zenith’s forecasts.

Tablet penetration, meanwhile, is not nearly as broad, standing at 18.7% this year and forecast to hit 20.1% in 2019. Among the markets tracked, the Netherlands (74%) has the highest penetration rate, followed by Australia (66%) and Ireland (65%). Tablets haven’t found appeal in China, with just 4.8% penetration this year.

About the Data: The 52 markets included in the forecast are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK and the USA.

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