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Nearly All Mobile Traffic Originates on Smartphones in Emerging Markets

In more mature regions, tablets contribute a small but significant amount

November 16, 2017

There are some significant differences in the way users in emerging markets access the mobile web, according to new data from ScientiaMobile.

The device detection firm found that nearly all of mobile web traffic in regions like Asia-Pacific and South America originated on smartphones in Q3 2017.

Mobile Web Traffic Share Worldwide, by Region and Device, Q3 2017 (% of total)

While smartphones also accounted for the majority of mobile web traffic in more mature regions, tablets had a stronger presence there. For example, tablets made up 16.0% of mobile web traffic in North America in Q3 2017, compared with just 2.0% in Asia-Pacific.

In addition, ScientiaMobile found that more developed markets have adopted Apple’s iPhone at a significantly higher rate. For example, iPhones devices made up 52.0% of smartphone web traffic in North America during the third quarter.

That figure was just 14.0% in Africa, and 17.0% in South America, likely a reflection of Apple’s inability to make inroads with a selection of devices that remain prohibitively expensive in much of the world.

ScientiaMobile also turned out some interesting data regarding screen sizes across the globe. It found that smartphone users in Asia-Pacific, in particular, appear to have a strong penchant for devices with relatively large screens. In fact, smartphones with screen sizes between 5.6 inches and 6 inches accounted for 37.0% of web traffic share in the region in Q3 2017.

In Europe, the sweet spot for phone size appears to be between 5.1 inches and 5.5 inches. The firm reported that devices with screens falling into that size range generated 43.0% of smartphone traffic in Europe during the third quarter.

Smartphone Web Traffic Share Worldwide, by Region and Screen Size, Q3 2017 (% of total)

Smartphone traffic in North America was more evenly distributed among smartphones with screens between 4.6 inches and 5.5 inches.

However, recent data from Branding Brand found that a significant minority of iPhone owners in the US were interested in larger screens for their devices. A poll conducted by the firm in June 2017 found that 23% of respondents wanted Apple to offer larger screen size options for all of their devices.

Rahul Chadha


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