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Internet Traffic from Mobile Devices (Feb 2023)

by Josh Howarth
February 7, 2023

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 2023:

Mobile Device Internet Usage Stats (Top Picks)

  • 60.04% 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?

As of February 2023, 60.04% 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 increased by 75% since 2015.

In fact, the percentage of people accessing the internet via mobile decides has increased quarter-over-quarter. Q1 2017 was the first time mobile traffic surpassed traffic from desktop computers.

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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%
Q1 2022 59.66% ↑ 4.86%
Q1 2023 60.89% ↑ 1.23%

Over the last five years, website traffic from mobile devices has fluctuated somewhat. However, there has been a steady upward trend.

People access the internet using different devices at different times. A recent survey of internet usage 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

Mobile computing is one of the most significant technology trends of the 21st century.

However, there is a significant disparity between mobile internet traffic usage across the globe.

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

On the other end up the spectrum, Oceania is the world’s least mobile-centric region for internet traffic (39.51%).

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Here is a more detailed look at the most recent 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%

Worldwide, Sudan has the highest proportion of mobile internet traffic 83.92%.

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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 40 nations surveyed for their country's 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, at least 20 nations around the world have a mobile internet user penetration rate of over 90%.

And a total of 34 exceed the 85% mark.

The US has a mobile internet penetration rate of 84.37%.

Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 nations by mobile internet penetration rate:

Rank Nation Continent Mobile Internet Penetration
#1 Bahrain Asia 97.87%
#2 UAE Asia 95.85%
#3 Kuwait Asia 95.17%
#4 New Zealand Oceania 93.95%
#5 Singapore Asia 93.74%
#6 Canada North America 93.59%
#7 Brunei Asia 93.07%
#8 Japan Asia 92.68%
#9 Denmark Europe 92.6%
#10 UK Europle 92.26%

Perhaps unsurprisingly, 7 of the top 10 countries by mobile internet speed also rank in the top 15 for mobile internet penetration:

Rank Nation Continent Sept 2022 Mobile Internet Speed Mobile Internet Penetration Rank
#1 Norway Europe 126.94 Mbps #12
#2 UAE Asia 126.85 Mbps #2
#3 Qatar Asia 124.29 Mbps #13
#4 China Asia 116.42 Mbps -
#5 Netherlands Europe 105.52 Mbps #30
#6 Denmark Europe 105.4 Mbps #9
#7 South Korea Asia 104.81 Mbps #11
#8 Bulgaria Europe 103.9 Mbps -
#9 Saudi Arabia Asia 97.15 Mbps #14
#10 Kuwait Asia 95.04 Mbps #3

*Doesn’t feature on the list of 38 ranked nations

Source: StatCounter, Statista, Speedtest

Mobile Device Activity Data

As technology has evolved, so too have use cases for mobile devices.

Today, mobile devices are used for entertainment, e-commerce, financial management, business meetings and more.

However, according to a recently survey, the most common use for a mobile device is gaming. In fact, 68% of people report playing video games on their phones.

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Here’s a breakdown of the 16 most common tasks that people perform using their smartphones:

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 with their mobile device.

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The 11 countries with a higher-than-global-average of mobile shoppers 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 grown along with the rollout of 5G. 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 5G connections the US, Japan, Germany, South Korea, the UK, France, and Canada combined.

Here are the predicted country-by-country 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 phone subscriptions have risen year-over-year since 1993 (from only 34 million in 1993 to 8.648 billion today.)

Despite growing at a slower rate in recent years, mobile phone subscriptions are still on the rise.

Here’s a look at the major milestones of 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

There are 4.66 billion active internet users. And 4.32 billion active mobile internet users. Notably, those figures are almost identical.

The discrepancy between active social media users (4.2 billion) and active mobile social media users (4.15 billion) is even smaller. Not surprisingly, this is leading to people spending more times on their phones than ever before.

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 wraps up our look at the current state of global mobile internet traffic.

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

And countries with established mobile phone usage are continuing to close in on near-ubiquitous mobile internet use. If you found this report valuable, you may also want to check out our recent outlook on the top cloud computing trends over the next few years. Or, more focused on the world of mobile devices, a list of emerging app development trends.