Mobile web growth: 1 in 5 internet users don’t use a computer

On Device Research (ODR) is all about the mobile Internet. It’s a research company that follow a simple rule: if you want to find about how people are using mobile Internet, you have to do your research over mobile devices. By doing so, they’ve gathered data on an emerging type of consumer: the “Mobile Only” user.

What’s the story?

The research presented here was done only over the mobile web. If you were on a computer, you couldn’t do it. ODR is only interested in you if you either don’t use computers at all, or are an infrequent user – by which they mean you use a computer less than once a month. Over 15,000 people were surveyed in 12 different countries to bring these results. A more detailed list is presented below, but the interesting highlights are as follows:

  • In the UK and US, a surprising 20% of Internet users are already Mobile Only
  • In African and Asian markets, the number is greater than 50%

“Mobile Only” describes the way a person uses the Internet – but not the person themselves. ODR found that vastly different people fall into that category depending on the country you’re in. For example, an American Mobile Only user is most likely to be over 25, and in a low income bracket. However in India and Nigeria the Mobile Only user is likely to be under-25 and middle class or a student.

Alistair Hill, Managing Director at On Device Research, says “Internet companies and brands now have a new internet audience. These ‘Mobile Only’ internet browsers are the next frontier and are a glimpse into the next billion of connected consumers. In emerging countries fixed-line internet is being completely bypassed by mobile users and is an exciting time for content owners and brands to interact with their customers.”

The ‘Mobile Only’ Internet Generation

The percentage of mobile internet browsers who never or infrequently use the desktop Internet *

Country % Mobile Only
Asia 4 (India, China, Indonesia, Thailand) 43%
Africa 5 (South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya) 56%
US 25%
UK 22%
Other Individual Countries
Egypt 70%
India 59%
South Africa 57%
Ghana 55%
Kenya 54%
Nigeria 50%
Indonesia 44%
Thailand 32%
China 30%
Russia 19%
Data gathered from July to November 2010 – N= 15,204
* Infrequent mobile internet browsers use it once a month or less

What we think?

It’s pretty well known at this point that in emerging countries, the majority of web access is done via mobile. What surprised me was the size of the Mobile Only audience already present in the UK and the US. 20% is a big chunk of mobile web users.

About Cian O' Sullivan

Ace reporter, Cian, has moved on from GoMo News. He is currently the office manager for Photocall Ireland - Ireland's premier news and PR photography agency. You can check out the site at If you want to contact him directly about anything, Cian's new email is cian at photocallireland dot com.
This article was published in Mobile Web, mobile news and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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