Blog Post, Mobile, Research & Statistics

More than Half of Digital Content Now Consumed on Mobile Devices


smartphones appsA new report from Millennial Media and comScore reveals which types of online content are consumed by internet users in the United States more frequently on mobile devices than desktop computers. According to the data, 56% of online content is now consumed via smartphones (44%) and tablets (12%) while just 44% is consumed on desktop computers.

The shift to consuming online content using mobile devices continues to accelerate. In the past 12 months, Millennial Media reports that the number of internet users grew by 4% to 201 million users. However, mobile-only users grew nine times faster during the same time period while desktop users decreased by 45%. A year ago, 63% of digital users accessed the internet using both mobile devices and desktop computers, but today, that number has grown to 70%. Cross-platform consumption is the norm today.

The proof is in the data. Every day, more people are consuming more content on mobile devices—either instead of or in addition to desktop computers. However, not all content is equal in terms of mobile consumption rates. Some content categories are showing a more significant shift to mobile consumption than others. Here is what Millennial Media found (note that some numbers don’t add up to exactly 100% due to rounding):

Content Categories Consumed on Mobile Devices More than Desktop Computers:

  • Streaming Radio: Mobile = 95% (79% smartphones and 16% tablets) and Desktop = 5%
  • Games: Mobile = 85% (79% smartphones and 6% tablets) and Desktop = 15%
  • Social Media: Mobile = 72% (61% smartphones and 11% tablets) and Desktop = 28%
  • Weather: Mobile = 70% (61% smartphones and 9% tablets) and Desktop = 31%
  • Retail: Mobile = 53% (39% smartphones and 14% tablets) and Desktop = 47%

Content Categories Consumed Equally on Mobile Devices and Desktop Computers:

  • Health: Mobile = 50% (45% smartphones and 5% tablets) and Desktop = 50%

Content Categories Consumed on Desktop Computers More than Mobile Devices:

  • News: Mobile = 45% (39% smartphones and 6% tablets) and Desktop = 55%
  • Sports: Mobile = 44% (38% smartphones and 6% tablets) and Desktop = 56%
  • Food: Mobile = 42% (27% smartphones and 15% tablets) and Desktop = 58%
  • Business/Finance: Mobile = 38% (36% smartphones and 2% tablets) and Desktop = 62%
  • TV: Mobile = 33% (22% smartphones and 11% tablets) and Desktop = 67%
  • Travel: Mobile = 32% (21% smartphones and 11% tablets) and Desktop = 68%
  • Auto: Mobile = 24% (19% smartphones and 5% tablets) and Desktop = 76%
  • B2B: Mobile = 20% (12% smartphones and 8% tablets) and Desktop = 80%

Earlier this year, the amount of time Americans spend on mobile devices surpassed the amount of time they spend watching television—a shift that is expected to continue. We can assume the same type of shift will continue for content consumption with more people choosing to access content via mobile devices than computers.

A year from now, it’s likely that the number of content categories consumed on desktop computers more than mobile devices will decrease from the eight categories identified in Millennial Media’s 2014 study. News content is already very close to the tipping point with 45% of Americans consuming news content on mobile devices rather than desktop computers today. The real question is mobile consumption will be the norm for all content categories. What’s your prediction?

Image: John Fingas

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