With the increasing widespread availability of high-speed 4G internet access, which has allowed us to watch videos on our phones without annoying buffering, smartphones have revolutionised the way people access the web. We’re using our smartphones more than ever before, becoming increasingly reliant on them for communication and internet access. In fact, according to an Ofcom study for the Guardian, smartphones are now officially the most popular way to access the internet, overtaking laptops.
Most smartphone owners use their devices every single day. 62% of 4G users actually stated to Ofcom that they couldn’t live without their device! Almost a third of the population of the UK access the web using their smartphone, which indicates a huge 10% rise since 2014. This shows just how important it is to have a site that’s optimised for mobile, since you could be missing out on a huge potential audience if they’re unable to browse your site using their phones.
It’s not only smartphones which have seen a marked increase; tablet use was also up 4% this year compared to 2014. However, laptop and desktop use was down, with desktop computers being used for just 14% of internet access – it’s become easier than ever before to access our favourite sites, watch videos and search for essential products and services while we’re out and about, waiting at the train station or lounging on our sofa, so the thought of sitting at a desktop becomes less and less appealing.
It seems likely that smartphone internet use is set to continue rising for the foreseeable future, which means web designers and developers will need to keep up and ensure that users can enjoy accessing easy and appealing websites on their phones.