For the first time in the UK, smartphones have overtaken laptops as peoples favourite device for connecting to the internet. 33% of the UK public are choosing smartphones, compared to 30% who prefer a laptop when they want to get online. This is a big change from 2014, when 23% cited their phone and 40% preferred their laptop.
Ofcom recently released a report which analysed the UK communications sector. This showed that smartphones are now the most widely owned internet-enabled device, alongside laptops. In Q1 2015 smartphones were present in two-thirds of households (66%), on a par with laptops (65%)
Mobiles are particularly favoured by younger people – with half of 16 to 34 year olds stating it is their device of choice for connecting to the net. Overall, smartphone users now spend nearly two hours (114 minutes) using the internet on their mobile phone, nearly twice as much time as the average adult spends going online via a PC or laptop (69 minutes)
Young people are ten times as likely as older people to say their mobile phone is the device they would miss the most. Three in five (59%) 16-24 year olds named their mobile phone as the device they would miss the most if it were taken away, compared to less than a fifth (17%) who cited a TV set. In comparison, just 6% of those aged 55 and over said they would miss their phone the most, while 57% of this age group said they would most miss the TV set.
Half of smartphone users say they are ‘hooked’ on their mobile phone. About
half of smartphone users (48%) score themselves at 7 or above when asked to
describe how hooked they are on their mobile phone on a scale of 1-10, rising to three-fifths (61%) of young people aged 16-24.
Research shows that smartphones are used for a range of non-communication based activities, including watching short video clips (42%), streaming television programmes or films (21%); making purchases online (45%), and online banking (44%)
Take-up of smartphones has continued to increase over the past year, with two-thirds of adults (66%) now owning one. Over half of households (54%) had a tablet computer in early 2015, increasing from 44% in Q1 2014.
Why does this matter? Why should you care? It matters because it highlights the importance of having a mobile friendly website. The popularity of smartphones is set to continue. If people cannot access your website via a smartphone, then don’t be surprised when they abandon it for one of your competitors.
A substantial proportion of smartphone owners use their phones for
transactional activities, including making purchases online (45%) and online banking (44%), so make sure you test your website on a variety of smaretphone e.g. Android, iPhone, etc. In particular, if you sell via your website then test the order process. How does your checkout, etc display on a mobile? How quick is it to load? Make sure your site is fully optimised for mobile otherwise your will lose customers.
If your website looks bad on a smartphone then you need to get it re-designed. There are 3 options we recommend you consider:
- Hire a web designer to update your site, so that it is mobile friendly. This may be expensive, but if you have any custom software on your site then it could be worth doing
- If you can’t afford to hire a web designer and are unable to do it yourself, then don’t worry – the Hosting UK website builder (which comes with all our hosting plans) can be used. Websites published using Web Presence Builder automatically adapt for phone and tablet displays, so you look good!
- Use WordPress for your website – with a mobile friendly theme. If you don’t mind spending some time learning how to use WordPress, then you will quickly be able to set up a new website – one that is optimised for smartphones – and looks just how you want it to. With WordPress you can choose from thousands of templates – or “themes” as they are known as to choose the look of your website. Hosting UK offers WordPress Web Hosting
If your website performs poorly on a smartphone, then things are only going to get worse. Doing nothing will increasingly result in lost customers. Take action and get it fixed. The time &/or money you invest in creating a mobile friendly website will pay off in the long run.