What are consumers using their desktop computers, mobile devices and tablets for, and how are they using them differently? A recent study by GlobalWebIndex, reported in eMarketer, has some interesting stats about how Web use is changing.
While desktop still dominates, with 93% of users accessing the Internet this way, mobile is catching up fast. The poll of 180,000 Internet users worldwide says three out of five access the Internet by mobile phone and about one-fourth (22%) do so on tablets. Overall, in the last 2 years, the number of people accessing the Web on smartphones has grown by 60 percent and the number doing so on tablets has nearly tripled, surging by 282 percent.
Android is the dominant smartphone platform, used by some 80% of smartphone owners internationally. In the U.S., however, Apple’s iOS has about one-third of the smartphone market.
Google is still the leading Web brand or app used by both smartphone and tablet owners: Some 72% of smartphone users visit Google sites or apps, as do two-thirds of tablet users. Facebook was the next most popular (accessed by approximately half of smartphone and tablet owners), followed by YouTube and Yahoo!.
When it comes to buying behavior, mobile is really on the rise. Sixty-eight percent of desktop users search for products online—but 61% of mobile users and 60% of tablet users do, too. Although 61% have bought products online with their PC, 52% have done so both on mobile and on tablets. And consumers were equally likely to review product purchases on all devices (about 50% of them had done so on each type).
Keep in mind that the most popular purchases are still games, so a lot of these purchases are simply downloading game apps—and that the global focus of this study includes lots of countries where smartphones are more widely used for shopping than they are in the U.S. However, the physical products that consumers are most likely to buy online are books (thanks, Amazon.com!) and apparel.
Overall worldwide, tablet users are wealthier, more middle-aged and more male than the average. Tablet users are more active online content consumers and “generally more active online” than owners of both desktops and smartphones. They’re more likely than either smartphone or PC users to write detailed reviews of products or businesses, buy services online, or use group buying services (like Groupon) to conduct a transaction. This can partly be explained by the fact that tablet users tend to be early adopters, so they’re probably more “online-focused” in general than the average population.