Nearly three quarters of the world’s Internet users accessed the web from a mobile browser monthly last year, and according to estimates from eMarketer, over 90% of global Internet users will be mobile web users by 2017.
In emerging markets, the number of mobile web users as a share of total Internet users is already approaching the 90% figure, and in some regions it has already surpassed 90%. In the Middle East and Africa, for example, 92.7% of Internet users access the mobile web at least once per month. In Asia-Pacifc, home to roughly 1.2 billion Internet users, 83.9% of Internet users are monthly mobile web users. This number will reach 90% by the end of next year.
Mobile web users as a share of mobile phone users is also growing rapidly. Last year, 44.1% of mobile phone users worldwide accessed the Internet from a mobile browser at least once per month. North America (57.6%) was home to the largest share of mobile web users as a percent of mobile phone user, while the Middle East and Africa (51%) was a close second, with a higher mobile web penetration than in Western Europe (49.0%). By 2017, nearly 60% of mobile phone users worldwide will access the Internet on their mobile phones at least once per month.
As smartphones continue to fall in price, dropping below $20 without a contract, and the cost of mobile web access decreases even more, hundreds of millions of emerging market consumers will gain access to the Internet each year. These consumers will drive the number of global mobile broadband subscriptions from just 2 billion last year, to 8 billion mobile broadband subscriptions by 2019. By this time, the overwhelming majority of Internet users will come not from North America or Western Europe, but from emerging markets such as China (which has already surpassed the US as the world’s largest Internet population), India, Indonesia, Brazil, and Nigeria.
What do you think will be the most drastic change caused by this influx of mobile web users?
Sheela Subramanian is Jana's Global Director, Business Development. You may find this post, as well as additional content on the Jana blog located here. You can also follow Jana (@Jana) by clicking here.