LONDON: Mobile devices are forecast to account for around three-quarters (73%) of the time global consumers spend using the internet in 2018, up from 70% in 2017 and 65% in 2016, according to a new study.

That means the amount of time spent on mobile devices has doubled since 2011, when mobile accounted for 36% of all internet usage, and this is expected to rise further to 76% by 2019.

Spain is leading the way with mobile devices accounting for an estimated 81% of internet use this year, followed by Italy (78%), China and the US (both at 77%) and India (73%).

But the UK is lagging behind with mobile currently accounting for 57% of average daily internet consumption – a full 13 percentage points behind the global average for this year.

These are some of the key findings in Zenith’s latest Mobile Advertising Forecasts report, which the media agency based on research it conducted across 52 countries.

Zenith said it expected the proportion of mobile usage in the UK to rise to 64% in 2018 and attributed the gap with the global average to the country having a large installed base of desktop and laptop computers, whereas many consumers in other markets, such as China and India, have moved straight to mobile.

However, UK consumers are very heavy users of mobile e-commerce and Zenith forecast that the proportion of internet adspend going to mobile is currently estimated to be 63%, compared to 53% globally, and this is forecast to rise to 69% in 2018.

Globally, mobile adspend is expected to rise to 59% of all internet advertising expenditure in 2018, and 62% in 2019, when mobile adspend is predicted to be worth $156bn.

Zenith also examined smartphone and tablet penetration rates in the 52 countries surveyed and found they stand at 63% and 18.7% respectively.

Although smartphone adoption will continue to rise to 66% globally in 2018, the report found that the rate of adoption is slowing down. For example, 7% year-on-year growth is forecast for 2018 compared with 14% in 2016 and 21% in 2015.

The Netherlands, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Norway and Ireland are the five markets Zenith expects to have smartphone penetration levels above 90% in 2018, while another 11 markets will have penetration levels between 80% and 90%.

Meanwhile, tablet ownership varies widely across the 52 countries, ranging from a mere 4.8% in China, where the device has hardly caught on at all, to 74% in the Netherlands. In the UK, smartphone and tablet penetration in 2018 is expected to reach 69% and 60% respectively.

Sourced from Zenith; additional content by WARC staff