Mobile-Only Internet Users Surpass Desktop-Only Users in Italy - eMarketer
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Mobile-Only Internet Users Surpass Desktop-Only Users in Italy

Stats show significance of handheld devices to content consumption

May 30, 2017 | Advertising & Marketing

The number of internet users in Italy who went online solely via mobile devices surpassed the number of desktop-only users for the first time in March 2017, according to data captured by comScore. Mobile devices are now the gadget of choice when it comes to several online activities in the country.

According to comScore’s MMX Multi-Platform, 9.3 million (24.9%) of the country’s 37.3 million internet users accessed the internet exclusively via smartphone or tablet in March. By comparison, 9.1 million (24.3%) did so solely from a desktop or laptop computer.

Just over half (51%) of Italy’s internet users employed both mobile and desktop devices to go online during the month, up 4 percentage points from the 47% who did so in September 2016.

Several content categories showed increased mobile-only consumption between September 2016 and March 2017, led by news, which rose from 28% to 40%; retail, up from 22% to 33%; and sports, which jumped from 41% to 51%.

Internet User Share in Italy, by Device and Site Category, March 2017 (% of total)

Content categories requiring low user interaction, such as news and lifestyle, now draw 80% of their overall audiences from those using either mobile devices only, or some mix of mobile and desktop/laptop.

For categories such as retail or business and finance—where data input is typically required, or safety of personal financial details might be a concern on an out-of-home network—around 35% of users access via desktop only. That’s a comparatively high figure, and highlights the degree to which devices with physical keyboards and home Wi-Fi still have a place in people’s digital activity.

But even historically desktop-first activities have migrated to mobile to some extent. Retail ecommerce is one of them. This year, 28.4% of retail ecommerce sales in Italy will be completed via mobile devices, eMarketer predicts, up from 23.9% in 2016. So even activities long characterized as problematic on mobile devices’ small screens—such as inputting details needed to complete a digital purchase—are becoming less of a bother.

March’s milestone figure for mobile-only internet users is likely the first confirmation of Italy’s new normal.

—Cliff Annicelli

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