Mobile vs Desktop Internet Usage Statistics 2022: Why Mobile Optimization is More Important Than Ever

David Adamick

Jul 01, 20229 min read

Mobile vs Desktop Internet Usage Statistics 2022: Why Mobile Optimization is More Important Than Ever

Table of Content

  • A Decade of Mobile Traffic Growth

  • Mobile vs Desktop Contents

  • Mobile vs Desktop Internet Usage: General Stats

  • Mobile vs Desktop Usage: Search Statistics

  • Mobile vs Desktop Statistics by Market Sector

    • Trending industries for mobile users

  • Mobile vs Desktop: MCommerce vs. ECommerce

    • Faster eCommerce growth rates with mobile devices

    • Desktop devices for final purchasing

    • Mobile devices and search ad revenue

  • Mobile UX & Digital Marketing

  • Website, Keyword and SERP Ranking: Desktop Devices vs Mobile Phones

    • Mobile SERPs

    • URLs

    • Domains

    • Organic searching & keywords

  • Social Media Stats for Desktop vs. Mobile

  • Google Mobile-First Indexing

    • Tips for Switching to Mobile-First Indexing 

    • Shifts in User Behavior: 

    • The Impact of 5G on Mobile Internet Usage: 

  • Conclusion

    • Time to optimize

    • How we can help

    • FAQs

A Decade of Mobile Traffic Growth

If you’re concerned about how your website’s performance on mobile devices may be affecting your business, here’s a statistic to justify that concern: in 2011, mobile phone internet usage accounted for only 6% of global internet traffic. In 2022, that 6% is… 55%. 

To put that statistic another way, as of January 2022, the volume of internet traffic going through mobile devices for the first time overtook what had since been a volume dominated by desktop users. 

To put it another way again, with this trend in mobile traffic as it is, never has customer mobile UX been more crucial to the well-being of an online business’s revenue. 

This 50% increase in mobile usage not only signifies a shift in how we access the internet for our day-to-day requirements, but also the mounting importance of optimum user experience design and how marketing budgets are being reconsidered in relation to improving that experience. 

In a previous post, we investigated the considerable commercial returns properly researched and developed user experience can provide an online business – as well as the considerable disadvantages a business can suffer when it hasn’t one.

Mobile vs Desktop Contents

So let’s take a more detailed look at how this translates in the world of mobile devices and how responsive web design there is now more important than ever.  

We'll cover the following:

Mobile vs Desktop Internet Usage Statistics

Mobile vs Desktop Search Statistics

Mobile vs Desktop Statistics by Market Sector

Mobile vs Desktop Ecommerce Revenues/Conversion Rates

Mobile Website Marketing 

Keywords/SEO/Website Ranking

Social Media Stats

Google Mobile-First Indexing

Mobile vs Desktop Internet Usage: General Stats

For starters, over the past 5 years, the time consumers spend on mobile phones has increased by almost 25%, which, in the US alone, means adults are now spending an average of 4 hours a day on a device. 

In one year alone, mobile-generated traffic has increased by over 10%. 

Globally speaking, 4 of the 4.5 billion who make up the active internet population, browse the internet via mobile phone, with the rate of device ownership continuing to rise. These days, more people are getting mobile devices than they are desktops. 

Currently, the ownership proportion of mobile devices stands at 56%, with 42% and 2% for desktop devices and tablets respectively. 

Which contributes significantly to the 100K Google searches that are made by this population every second. 

Such that 55% of all page views come by way of mobile phones. 

Still, the average time spent on a website is longer for desktop users (56%) than it is with mobile usage since desktop devices continue to offer a more in-depth user experience. 

Mobile vs Desktop Usage: Search Statistics

Although nearly 60% of all search queries come from mobile devices (claims Google), interestingly, the device itself can also determine how and what people search for. This also affects the actual number of searches a user will do. 

What’s more, the use of a mobile device may result in differing search results than those generated through desktop usage. 

Mobile users will tend to make locally-focused searches whereas desktop usage tends toward more general queries.

Semrush claims that shorter visits paid to websites via mobile are owing to the shortening of user attention span and thus suggests an increasing difficulty in customer engagement, whereas others cite improved site optimization that facilitates a quicker conversion rate. 

Mobile vs Desktop Statistics by Market Sector

Trending industries for mobile users

So who, more specifically, is getting all this attention from mobile phones and who is more favoured by laptop users? In global terms, here’s how the 2020 stats were trending:

Mobile vs Desktop: MCommerce vs. ECommerce

Faster eCommerce growth rates with mobile devices

When considering the growing importance of UX, the very emergence of the term ‘mCommerce’ is a case in point. For online business owners, the statistics linked to it are the nitty-gritty of many marketing budget considerations. Ones that contribute increasingly to many of the current eCommerce trends to watch

Particularly when you consider that average smartphone conversion rates are up 64% compared to those for desktops.

This is why categories with the highest share of purchases by mobile users are also experiencing the fastest eCommerce growth rates. These rates tend to be cheaper for products such as video games, digital content, movies etc., and slower in more expensive categories such as computer software.

Desktop devices for final purchasing

Still, the retail conversion rate for desktops remains higher at just under 4% whereas, for mobile devices, it’s around 1.3%.

This illustrates how desktops are still more popular in the final purchasing phase once initial product research has been done via mobile. In this case, the importance for retailers to provide users with useful, personalized content on their mobile sites is obvious.

Furthermore, usage statistics suggest that mobile devices encourage the online purchasing of items less likely to have been previously. This is why it is so critical that online retailers minimize any procedural or purchasing hurdles that may exist via mobile internet usage. 

Mobile devices and search ad revenue

So here’s another one for you: mobile search ad revenue in the U.S. is expected to grow from $8.97 billion in 2015 to $21.55 billion in 2022. In the process, it will go past the U.S. desktop search ad revenue, which is expected to be at $19.8 billion in 2022.

Mobile devices are becoming a complement to brick-and-mortar stores. In a study of more than 2,400 omnichannel shoppers, 46% of those who researched product ratings or reviews before buying them offline do so on mobile phones.

Of those who compared prices prior to buying offline, 36% did so online. And 51% researched a product on mobile while in-store.

Mobile UX & Digital Marketing

So, considering the stats above, this is why marketers are increasingly driven to up the ante when it comes to establishing a fully responsive, robust online mobile experience. 

W has led to a decrease in bounce rates in mobile internet traffic. Between 2018 and 2020, for example, they were 3% higher than those of desktops; Semrush now claims that gap to have narrowed to a mere 0.2%

It has also resulted in an increase in expenditure on mobile search advertising. In the US alone, this spending rose from $14.17 billion in 2015 to $37.43 billion in 2020.

Phone-based CPCs (Cost Per Clicks) cost 24% less than desktops and have a 40% higher CTR (Click-through Rate).

Even still, mobile apps have higher engagement rates than mobile-optimized websites or desktop web viewing, and 100-300% higher conversion rates.

Website, Keyword and SERP Ranking: Desktop Devices vs Mobile Phones

Mobile SERPs

As for Google ranking, the landscape from desktop to mobile can change dramatically. Such that only 17% of websites hold their SERP positions in both. Moreover, 37% of URLs exited the top-10 when searched from a mobile device. 


Even more surprising, 33% of URLs disappeared altogether via mobile while 8% of domains vanished into thin air. 


And speaking of domains, 35% of first pages that rank for them on a query differ between desktop and phone SERPs.

Organic searching & keywords

As for organic searching, 62% show different results between mobile and desktop, and 79% of keywords also rank differently. Of these keywords, 47% of those ranking 1 to 20 also do so differently when searched between the two media. 

Social Media Stats for Desktop vs. Mobile

Given how much social media colossi have invested in their products, it’s hardly surprising that most social media communication is generated and consumed via mobile phones.

An 80% lion’s share thereof, to be more precise. A figure that can be broken down further: 95% of Facebook users, 86% of Twitter users and 60% of LinkedIn traffic.

Google Mobile-First Indexing

However, for the last five or six years, Google has been addressing such issues with their Mobile-first indexing. Online retailers, their webmasters, developers and SEOs should once again take note. 

Mobile-first indexing does what it says: it uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. Until now, the index primarily used the desktop version of a page's content when evaluating the relevance of a page to a user's query. 

However, as we’ve seen an increasing number of users now access Google Search with mobile devices, Googlebot primarily crawls and indexes pages with the smartphone agent.

In the fullness of time, Google expects its algorithms to use primarily the mobile version of a site's content to rank pages from that site, understand its structured data and show snippets from those pages in their results.

By as early as March of 2020, Google estimated that already, 70% of all websites had switched to mobile-first indexing. 

Tips for Switching to Mobile-First Indexing 

For any online business that wisely chooses to switch to mobile-first indexing, Google advises this business to ensure the following:

That Google can access and render its content

That this data be structured and identical on both desktop and mobile sites

Its metadata be the same for these formats

Ads are properly placed

Images and videos are high quality, share the same alt text for desktop devices and mobile and use supported formats

Shifts in User Behavior: 

The year 2022 has marked a significant shift in user behavior regarding internet access. With the increasing ubiquity of smartphones and improvements in mobile network technology, users are more inclined to browse the internet, shop online, and consume digital content on their mobile devices compared to desktops. This trend emphasizes the need for businesses to optimize their digital platforms for mobile users to ensure a seamless user experience.

The Impact of 5G on Mobile Internet Usage: 

The rollout of 5G technology in 2022 has further bolstered mobile internet usage. With faster speeds and lower latency, 5G has enhanced the capabilities of mobile devices, making them more efficient for activities traditionally reserved for desktops, such as high-definition video streaming and interactive gaming.


Time to optimize

At this point, it's pretty clear that the trend in mobile usage and mobile traffic will continue in its eclipse of desktop device usage.

This makes it all the more surprising that there are still businesses out there that have not sufficiently optimized their websites for the sort of user experience that mobile users will continue to demand. 

All individuals dedicated to the success of your online business must put this reality to the fore and it is imperative that your content and SEO strategy reflect it. Customers of those businesses which do not are sure to seek alternatives elsewhere.

How we can help

At Startup Development House, we can guide you toward this success. Whether it's through ideation workshops, usability testing, application development/maintenance or persona interviews, our expertise in all aspects of mobile app development will ensure the smoothest experience for your customers and help expand your potential market.

Want to find out more? Reach out to us at and let’s get into some heavy traffic.


How has mobile internet usage compared to desktop usage changed in 2022? In 2022, mobile internet usage has continued to outpace desktop usage significantly. This trend is driven by the global adoption of smartphones and improvements in mobile network technologies like 5G.

What factors contribute to the increase in mobile internet usage in 2022? Key factors include the widespread availability of affordable smartphones, the convenience of mobile devices for on-the-go internet access, and the rollout of faster mobile networks like 5G.

Are there specific industries where mobile usage has seen significant growth in 2022? Industries such as e-commerce, social media, and online streaming services have seen substantial growth in mobile usage, as users increasingly prefer the convenience of mobile devices for shopping, socializing, and entertainment.

How important is mobile optimization for websites in 2022? Mobile optimization is crucial in 2022, as a significant portion of web traffic comes from mobile devices. Websites not optimized for mobile risk losing potential customers and damaging their search engine rankings.

Has the adoption of 5G impacted mobile vs desktop internet usage in 2022? Yes, the adoption of 5G has made mobile internet significantly faster and more reliable, contributing to the preference for mobile devices over desktops for various online activities.

What are the key user experience considerations for mobile optimization in 2022? Key considerations include responsive design, fast loading times, easy navigation, and streamlined checkout processes for e-commerce sites.

How has the behavior of online shoppers changed in terms of device usage in 2022? Online shoppers in 2022 increasingly prefer to browse and make purchases using mobile devices due to the convenience and improved shopping experiences offered by optimized mobile apps and websites.

What role does mobile play in the digital marketing strategies of businesses in 2022? Mobile is a central component of digital marketing strategies, with businesses focusing on mobile-friendly content, ads, and social media strategies to engage the growing number of mobile users.

Are there differences in content consumption patterns between mobile and desktop users in 2022? Yes, mobile users tend to prefer short-form content and engage more with visual and interactive elements, while desktop users may engage more with long-form content and detailed information.

How has mobile app usage in 2022 compared to desktop application usage? Mobile app usage has seen a surge in 2022, especially for social media, e-commerce, and entertainment apps, while desktop application usage remains consistent but grows at a slower rate.

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Published on July 01, 2022


David Adamick Content Editor

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