Mobile devices will account for 75 percent of global internet use next year, according to Zenith’s new Mobile Advertising Forecasts report. The mobile proportion of internet use has increased rapidly, from 40 percent in 2012 to 68 percent in 2016. And the agency forecasts it will reach 79 percent by 2018. The first edition of the report looks at mobile advertising and mobile technology in 60 countries. It forecasts the rising amount of time consumers devote to mobile internet use, the spread of smartphones and tablets, and the growth of mobile adspend. “Mobile devices are already the primary means of accessing the internet across the world,’ said Jonathan Barnard, head of forecasting at Zenith, in a statement. “Countries in Western Europe, Asia and North America are leading the transition, but mobile technology is spreading rapidly everywhere. Next year mobile devices will become the main vehicle for internet advertising as well.”
The countries with the highest levels of mobile internet consumption are dispersed across Western Europe, Asia and North America. Hong Kong comes second globally, with 79 percent of internet use being mobile, followed by China (76 percent) and the United States (74 percent). Italy and India come joint fifth, at 73 percent each. By 2018, Zenith expects Hong Kong to have the highest mobile internet use, accounting for 89 percent of total internet use. China will be second with 87 percent and Spain third with 86 percent, followed by the United States and Italy at 83 percent each, and India at 82 percent.
The increase in mobile internet use is being driven by the rapid rise in the penetration of mobile devices. In 2012 just 23 percent of people in 60 markets had a smartphone, and 4 percent had a tablet. Smartphone penetration has now reached 56 percent, an increase of 2.4 times over four years, and the agency forecasts it will rise to 63 percent by 2018. Ireland is estimated to have the highest smartphone penetration this year, at 92 percent, followed by Singapore (91 percent), Spain (88 percent), Norway (86 percent) and South Korea (84 percent). Ireland is expected to remain in first place in 2018, with 94 percent penetration, followed by Switzerland and Singapore at 92 percent each, and Norway and Taiwan at 91 percent each.
Tablets are more of a luxury item. Only 15 percent of people in 60 markets own one now, and Zenith expects them reach 17 percent penetration in 2018. In 10 of 60 markets, tablets have penetration levels above 50 percent, and in another 10 they have penetration levels below 10 percent. Just 3 percent of people in China have tablets, which drags down the average substantially, since China accounts for 27 percent of the population of the 60 markets studeid. In India, which accounts for another 26 percent, 6 percent of people have tablets. The highest level of tablet penetration is in Singapore (at 75 percent), and Thailand matches China for the lowest (3 percent).
As stated in its Advertising Expenditure Forecasts of September 2016, Zenith believes mobile advertising will overtake desktop advertising in 2017, increasing its share of global internet advertising to 52 percent from 44 percent this year. In 2018, the agency expects mobile advertising to account for 60 percent of all internet advertising. That year mobile advertising expenditure will total US$134 billion, which is more than will be spent on newspaper, magazine, cinema and outdoor advertising put together.