Is Mobile Traffic Replacing The Desktop?


You’ve probably heard the hype around Mobile website traffic lately, every time we visit Google they go on and on about smartphones. We’ve been ramping up our mobile efforts for over a year already, but we’ve been wondering lately, what affect is this having on our desktop traffic?

I’ve taken a sample of data across all of our client Google Analytics accounts and aggregated the information in to Desktop, Mobile and Tablet groups, I’ve then graphed that over time to look at the usage patterns of these devices over the last few years.


Mobile Traffic - Is it still growing? Does that matter?

In short: Yes and Yes

These graphs show the average visits per site for each month for the last 2 years. You can clearly see that Desktop visits have dropped by ~38% - wow! We can see that Tablet and Mobile device visits have grown substantially - replacing the lost visits.


Tablet visits are up by a whopping 2,957% - from almost nothing to on average a few thousand visits each month, while mobile has had a large, but slightly more conservative growth of 123% from 2 years ago.


Transactions Growing Too

We can see visitors have grown, but have e-commerce transactions grown too?


Tablet transactions have grown at a slightly slower rate than their traffic growth, but given the very few visits we had from tablet devices 2 years ago, a 12 month comparison may be a little fairer.
In the last 12 months tablet visits grew 70% and transactions grew 50%, a little less than we would like to see. Why do you think people may not be converting so well on tablet devices?


Mobile transactions have grown 161% in 12 months.


While mobile traffic has grown just 86% in the last 12 months, the number of transactions has increased 161%. The interesting difference here being that mobile users seem to be converting at a much higher rate than they were 12 months or 2 years ago. Is this due to an increase in trust when using mobile devices for purchases? Maybe it’s down to sites having mobile optimised versions now that are increasing conversion rate. This will be an interesting trend to keep watching.

I also rather like that we can see mobile Transactions peak in December 2012, but mobile Visits peak a month later in January - is this lots of people getting new devices and trying them out?


In conclusion, should we believe the hype? Probably, Yes.

Have you seen your data take a similar path? Let us know in the comments.

Data methodology: Visit data is calculated from about 150 unique websites, transaction data is based on about 50 unique websites. We only sampled profiles that had visits and transactions in each month for each device in the last few years. Not all of the sampled profiles have been clients of ours for the entire 2 years, and the work we perform on these clients varies. The profiles are a mixture across many different industries. Transaction data is  calculated from E-Commerce sites only. The numbers displayed are averages across profiles.



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