Internet Traffic from Mobile Devices (2022)

by Josh Howarth - March 24, 2022

Internet use and mobile use are components of everyday life for billions of people.

In fact, for many, the two now go hand in hand.

With the new “mobile-first” world in mind, here’s a breakdown of what we’ll cover about the current state of website traffic from mobile devices in 2022:

Mobile Device Internet Usage Stats (Top Picks)

  • 54.4% of website traffic comes from mobile devices.
  • 92.1% of internet users access the internet using a mobile phone.
  • There are approximately 4.32 billion active mobile internet users.
  • Africa has the highest proportion of internet traffic from mobile devices - 69.13%.
  • There will be over 1 billion 5G connections worldwide by 2025.

What Percentage of Internet Traffic Comes From Mobile Devices?

The latest figures show that 54.4% of all website traffic comes from people using mobile devices.

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Back in Q1 2015, this figure sat at less than one-third (31.16%). In other words, mobile device internet traffic has increased by around 75% since 2015.

This percentage climbed quarter-over-quarter, surpassing the 50% mark (50.03%) in Q1 2017.

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Here’s a quick look at mobile internet traffic share every Q1 since 2015:

Quarter Share Annual Change
Q1 2015 31.16% -
Q1 2016 39.47% ↑ 26.67%
Q1 2017 50.03% ↑ 26.75%
Q1 2018 51.77% ↑ 3.48%
Q1 2019 48.71% ↓ 5.91%
Q1 2020 51.92% ↑ 6.59%
Q1 2021 54.8% ↑ 5.55%

Over the last five years, website traffic from mobile devices has fluctuated somewhat. However, there has been a slow upwards trend in figures, remaining above 50% for 17 of the last 20 quarters (after a dip between Q4 2018 and Q2 2019).

To further highlight the continued growth, here are the top 10 quarters ordered by the highest proportion of mobile website traffic:

Rank Quarter Website Traffic Share Growth Over Previous Month
#1 Q3 2021 55.78% Yes - ↑ 0.69%
#2 Q2 2021 55.09% Yes - ↑ 0.29%
#3 Q1 2021 54.8% Yes - ↑ 2.6%
#4 Q4 2021 54.4% No - ↓ 1.38%
#5 Q3 2017 52.99% Yes - ↑ 0.78%
#6 Q4 2019 52.6% Yes - ↑ 1.09%
#7 Q3 2018 52.4% Yes - ↑ 0.51%
#8 Q2 2017 52.21% Yes - ↑ 2.18%
#9 Q4 2020 52.2% Yes - ↑ 1.39%
#10 Q1 2020 51.92% No - ↓ 0.68%

Globally, people access the internet using various devices. An analysis of internet usage in Q3 2021, split these into 10 categories (some of which overlap).

The data revealed that around 9 in 10 (92.1%) internet users access the internet using a mobile phone of some kind.

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By comparison, approximately 7 in 10 (71.2%) use the more “traditional” laptop or desktop.

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Here is a full breakdown of the findings:

Device Share of Users
Mobile phone (any) 92.1%
Laptop or desktop (any) 71.2%
Smartphone 90.7%
Feature phone 5%
Tablet device 28.2%
Own laptop or desktop 64.5%
Work laptop or desktop 29.4%
Connected television 30.4%
Smart home device 13.8%
Games console 12.6%

Source: StatCounter, DataReportal

Mobile Device Internet Usage by Region

There is a significant disparity between mobile internet traffic shares across the globe.

Africa is the region with the highest proportion of internet traffic coming from mobile devices (69.13%).

That is more than twice the proportion of the world’s least mobile-centric region for internet traffic, Oceania (39.51%).

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Here is a more detailed look at August 2021’s data:

Rank Region Share of Mobile Internet Traffic Difference to Global Average
#1 Africa 69.13% + 12.24%
#2 Asia 65.2% + 8.31%
- Global 56.89% -
#3 South America 51.47% - 5.42%
#4 Europe 49.19% - 7.7%
#5 North America 48.49% - 8.4%
#6 Oceania 39.51% - 17.38%

Broken down into nations, here are some key takeaways from 2021’s mobile internet traffic as a percentage of total web traffic data:

The global average figure for 2021 was 55.01%.

Worldwide, Nigeria has the highest proportion of mobile internet traffic 81.43%, followed by India with 75.96%, and South Africa with 72.59%.

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Each of the top 13 nations are either African (5) or Asian* (8).

Of the countries surveyed, Russia has the lowest proportion of mobile internet traffic (30.2%), with the majority of citizens accessing the internet via desktop. The next-lowest by proportion are Portugal (34.12%) and Canada (37.71%).

Below are the top and bottom by region of the 40 nations surveyed for mobile internet traffic share:

Africa

  • Nigeria - 81.43%
  • South Africa - 72.59%

  • Egypt - 67.66%
  • Morocco - 52.51%

Asia

  • India - 75.96%
  • Saudi Arabia - 70.82%

  • Hong Kong - 42.27%
  • Russia - 30.2%

South America

  • Argentina - 57.14%

  • Brazil - 49.49%

Europe

  • Republic of Ireland - 58.1%
  • Poland - 53.05%

  • Portugal 34.12%
  • Russia - 30.2%

North America

  • Mexico - 52.88%
  • US - 47.57%

  • Canada 37.71%

Oceania

  • New Zealand - 41.48%

  • Australia - 40.64%

*Includes partly-European Turkey

Taking a look at mobile internet use from a different angle, 15 nations around the world have a mobile internet user penetration rate of over 90%.

And a total of 28 exceed the 85% mark.

The US has a mobile internet penetration rate of 83.15%.

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Here’s a breakdown of the top 15 nations by mobile internet penetration rate in 2021:

Rank Nation Continent Mobile Internet Penetration
#1 Bahrain Asia 98.11%
#2 UAE Asia 95.56%
#3 Kuwait Asia 94.21%
#4 Japan Asia 92.16%
#5 Taiwan Asia 92.01%
#6 South Korea Asia 91.96%
#7 Brunei Asia 91.82%
#8 UK Europe 91.44%
#9 Denmark Europe 91.39%
#10 Hong Kong Asia 91.09%
#11 New Zealand Oceania 91.02%
#12 Sweden Europe 90.93%
#13 Norway Europe 90.9%
#14 Qatar Asia 90.66%
#15 Luxembourg Europe 90.16%

Perhaps unsurprisingly, each of the top five countries for fastest mobile internet speeds also feature in the table above:

Rank Nation Continent Oct 2021 Mobile Internet Speed Mobile Internet Penetration Rank
#1 UAE Asia 273.87 Mbps #2
#2 South Korea Asia 214.47 Mbps #6
#3 Qatar Asia 178.83 Mbps #14
#4 Norway Europe 178.7 Mbps #13
#5 Kuwait Asia 170.67 Mbps #3
#6 Cyprus Europe 168.72 Mbps #22
#7 China Asia 168.28 Mbps -*
#8 Saudi Arabia Asia 164.81 Mbps #16
#9 Bulgaria Europe 153.72 Mbps -*
#10 Australia Oceania 147.77 Mbps #30

*Doesn’t feature on the list of 31 ranked nations

Source: StatCounter, Statista, Speedtest

Mobile Device Activities Data

As technology has evolved, so too have our uses for mobile devices.

Today, mobile devices are used for entertainment, e-commerce, and financial management to name a few.

According to December 2020 data, the most common use for a mobile device is playing games with 68% of people gaming on their phones.

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Here’s a breakdown of the 16 most commonly given answers:

Rank Activity Share Activity Type
#1 Played a game 68% Entertainment
#2 Listened to music 67% Entertainment
#3 Used social media 63% Entertainment
#4 Watched video, TV, or film 61% Entertainment
=#5 Paid for something bought online 47% E-commerce/Finance
=#5 Accessed bank 47% Finance
#7 Ordered a product 42% E-commerce
#8 Booked food delivery 41% E-commerce/Health & Wellbeing
#9 Used for work 38% Business
#10 Sent money to a friend 35% Finance
=#11 Paid for something using Google Pay, Apple Pay, etc. 33% E-commerce/Finance
=#11 Read magazine or newspaper 33% Entertainment
#13 Used a medical or fitness service 25% Health & Wellbeing
#14 Booked a taxi ride 22% Travel
#15 Controlled a smart device 20% Entertainment/Misc.
#16 None of the above 3% N/A

Looking at the above table, it’s clear that e-commerce is among the most popular uses for mobile devices.

Indeed, more than half of the online population (55.4%) are likely to have bought something online in the past month using a mobile device.

In Q3 2020, 42 nations were ranked by share of the online population who had purchased something online using a mobile device in the last month.

In total, 16 different countries saw over 50% of their online populations use a mobile device for e-commerce in the previous month.

The US just missed out on this benchmark with 48.7% - ranking second for North America behind Mexico (54%).

Turkey (54.8%) is the highest-ranking European* nation, followed by Italy (46.7%) and the UK (46.5%)

South America’s largest share comes from Brazil (50.8%).

While Africa’s highest-ranked country is Egypt (40.1%).

And Oceania’s top nation is New Zealand (38.9%).

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The 11 countries with a higher-than-global-average share are as follows:

Rank Country Region Share of Online Population Using E-commerce
#1 Indonesia Asia 79.1%
#2 Thailand Asia 74.2%
#3 Philippines Asia 69.6%
#4 Malaysia Asia 68.4%
#5 Saudi Arabia Asia 65.1%
#6 China Asia 64.3%
#7 Taiwan Asia 63.8%
#8 Vietnam Asia 61.4%
#9 South Korea Asia 59.9%
#10 India Asia 57.3%
#11 Singapore Asia 56.9%

*Partially European

Source: Mobile Ecosystem Forum, We Are Social

5G Adoption Statistics

Mobile internet traffic has continued to increase as 5G is rolled out. And there are expected to be over 1 billion 5G connections worldwide by 2025.

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China is expected to have over 3x more 5G connections than any other country.

In fact, it is predicted that China will have considerably more than the US, Japan, Germany, South Korea, the UK, France, and Canada combined.

Here are the figures forecast for 5G connections in 2025:

Country 5G Mobile Connections Share of 5G Mobile Connection
China 866 million 51%
US 247 million 68%
Japan 138 million 68%
Germany 68 million 58%
South Korea 45 million 73%
UK 42 million 57%
France 35 million 49%
Canada 20 million 51%

Source: GSMA

The Future of Mobile Device Internet Usage

Mobile subscriptions have risen year-over-year since 1993.

From 34 million in 1993. To 8.648 billion in 2021.

Despite rising at a slower rate in recent years, subscriptions are still on the up.

Here’s a look at major milestones for worldwide mobile subscriptions over the last 30 years:

Mobile Subscriber Milestone Year
100 million 1996
500 million 2000
1 billion 2002
2 billion 2005
3 billion 2007
4 billion 2008
5 billion 2010
6 billion 2012
7 billion 2015
8 billion 2019

These figures show that mobile device internet usage only looks to be heading on its way.

As of 2021, there are 4.66 billion active internet users. And 4.32 billion active mobile internet users.

The discrepancy between active social media users (4.2 billion) and active mobile social media users (4.15 billion) is even smaller.

As both internet use and social media use grow, it only stands to reason that mobile internet traffic will follow suit.

Source: ITU, DataReportal

Conclusion

That rounds off our look at mobile internet traffic.

Developing nations are helping push the surge in mobile internet use.

And established digital regions are continuing to close in on ubiquitous mobile internet use.

Written By
Josh Howarth
Co-founder of Exploding Topics.
548 Market St. Suite 95149
San Francisco, California
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