Mobile web set for lead role in US

02 November 2012

NEW YORK: More consumers in the US will access the internet using a mobile device than a desktop PC by 2015, a forecast has predicted.

According to estimates released by IDC, the insights provider, the number of Americans who utilise the web via a PC is set to decline from 240m in 2012 to 225m in 2016.

During the same period, the size of the online audience on wireless handsets should rise from 174m to 265m people, as connected gadgets increasingly enter the mainstream.

In keeping with these figures, IDC stated that the wireless internet population is in line to overtake its desktop equivalent in 2015, a shift requiring a rapid response from marketers.

"The 'Great PC Exodus' on the internet is happening because the PC was never truly a consumer product," Karsten Weide, IDC's program vice president, media and entertainment.

"Many consumers use them because there was no better alternative. Now, with the huge and growing installed base of more user-friendly tablets and smartphones, there are."

"In the consumer world, mobile internet usage is already beginning to displace PC usage, and the United States is leading this trend," said Weide.

"There has been much talk about how the future of the internet will be mobile first and PC second. In the United States, that future is now."

While the US is due to be demonstrably ahead of the global norm on such a metric, the analysis reported that both Western Europe and Japan would only be "about two years behind" in this area.

In assessing the potential impact of these trends, IDC suggested that the proportion of social media users logging on through a desktop PC will fall from 66% in 2012 to 52% in 2016.

When discussing advertising expenditure levels, the mobile channel was also pegged to witness a rapid improvement, attaining a value of $28.8bn in 2016, measured against just $6bn in 2011.

Similarly, mcommerce sales were expected to yield a six-fold expansion in this timeframe, coming in at $223bn by the close of the forecast period.

Data sourced from IDC; additional content by Warc staff