More Mobile than PC Web Users in 3 Years: Forecast

IDC is modeling mobile Internet adoption and growth and its model says that in essentially three years there will be more mobile Web users than those accessing the Internet on PCs. Here's what the firm forecast earlier this morning: 

By 2015, more U.S. Internet users will access the Internet through mobile devices than through PCs or other wireline devices. As smartphones begin to outsell simpler feature phones, and as media tablet sales explode, the number of mobile Internet users will grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.6% between 2010 and 2015 . . . 

In addition IDC made the following predictions: 

  • Worldwide, the total number of Internet user will grow from 2 billion in 2010 to 2.7 billion in 2015, when 40% of the world's population will have access to its vast resources.
  • Global B2C ecommerce spending will grow from $708 billion in 2010 to $1,285 billion in 2015 at a CAGR of 12.7%.
  • Worldwide online advertising will increase from $70 billion in 2010 to $138 billion in 2015, with its share of total advertising across all media growing from 11.9% to 17.8%.

This mobile Internet access forecast may turn out to be aggressive in terms of timing but it will certainly turn out to be true. And it should wake up some complacent companies that still believe they can afford to delay building apps and/or optimizing their websites for mobile. 

There are so many publishers and marketers that don't understand (or seemingly don't through their inaction) the poor user experience they present in the absence of a mobile website or smartphone app. Simply relying on mobile browsers to render their existing PC sites is insufficient. And everyone should dump Flash in the process of upgrading for mobile. (Tablets are a bit different because they operate more like PCs.)

Google previously indicated that 79% of its major advertiser-clients still don’t have an optimized mobile presence.

Everyone needs to get used to the idea that in less than a decade smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices will be the primary way the majority of people access Internet content. And, as IDC says, when that happens the Internet will become a very different place.