Young people across the world’s largest advertising markets will spend more time accessing the internet via mobile than via all other devices combined by 2018.
This is the key finding from a new global insight study into changes in mobile behaviour conducted by ZenithOptimedia and GlobalWebIndex.
The research, using GWI’s panel of 200,000 internet users, found that within three years, 16-24 year-olds across 34 of the world’s largest advertising markets will spend more time accessing the internet via mobile than via all other devices combined, regardless of their location. Some countries, such as Mexico and Saudi Arabia, have already reached this tipping point.
The first of the top 10 advertising markets to reach the ‘mobile tipping point’ is Brazil. By 2016 Brazil will see its population of 16-24 year olds spend more time accessing the web via mobile than all other devices. South Korea and Argentina will also reach the mobile tipping point next year. China and Japan – the second and third biggest advertising markets (ZenithOptimedia’s Advertising Expenditure Forecast September 2015) – will hit the tipping point in 2017. USA and Germany (the first and fifth biggest markets) will pass the tipping point in 2018 followed by UK (fourth biggest) in 2019.
In our study, entitled The Mobile Imperative, presented at dmexco 2015, ZenithOptimedia and GWI found that across all 34 markets surveyed, 41% of Mobile First users – defined as those with 90% internet access via mobile handsets – are from the 16-24 age group. A further 31% of Mobile First users are aged between 25 and 34. The markets which currently have the highest penetration of Mobile First users across all age groups are in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, 11% and UAE, 8%) and Scandinavia (Sweden, 8%). Not surprisingly, the majority (63%) of Mobile First users live in urban environments.
Mobile First users spend a significantly large amount of time on the mobile web, on average 3.59 hours per day, and 23% said they had bought a product via mobile in the last month. The most popular mobile web activity for Mobile First users is using a social networking service, coming in at 44%. This is closely followed by checking the weather (38%) and watching an online video (22%) – which has significant implications for marketers investing in content programmes. ZenithOptimedia and GWI also found that changes in mobile behaviour are set to have a significant impact on online search, which has been one of the key drivers of the internet economy, worth $140bn (US) last year, according to eMarketer.
From the study, we found that use of search engines for research, across all internet users, dropped by six percentage points between Q1 2014 and Q1 2015, from 55% to 49%. The change is even more pronounced for 16-24 year olds, dropping 10 percentage points from 53% to 43%. This trend is being driven primarily by the rise in app usage. Mobile behaviour is fundamentally app-based – apps represent 86% of time spent on mobile (source: Flurry) – which has had a profound effect on browser usage via mobile. We are also seeing the rise of ‘social discovery’, with the top eight social networks driving over 30% of traffic to websites last year – up from 22% the previous year (source: Buzzfeed).
Today’s 16-24 year-olds are already online via mobile for more than three hours each day, showing just how much smartphones have already changed the game. However, by 2018, our global forecasts shows that the time they devote to mobile will outpace all other devices combined – a significant tipping point which will herald the arrival of the truly Mobile First consumer.
Jason Mander, Head of Trends, GlobalWebIndex
In just three years’ time mobile will outstrip all other digital devices combined when it comes to young people’s share of internet time. This has profound implications for marketers, many of whom will need to accelerate their mobile programmes to keep pace with the rapid consumer adoption of mobile.
Stefan Bardega, Chief Digital Officer, ZenithOptimedia