Changes to Our Data Collection Methodology for 2018
During 2018, SimilarWeb made some shifts in its data sources. For that reason, the charts show the 2018 data separated from the 2016 and 2017 data. The new sources in 2018 have slightly lower mobile usage, but this does not reflect an actual drop in mobile usage—just a change in the data sources used.
Nonetheless, SimilarWeb has one of the largest data samples on the web, and was picked by Rand Fishkin as the best tool for getting data on web traffic. For that reason, we will continue to use SimilarWeb as the data source for this study on an annual basis.
Aggregated Stats: Desktop vs. Mobile
The most common stat that people talk about is the percentage of their visits that comes from mobile devices. Here is a look at the percentage of visits sites get from mobile vs. desktop for 2016, 2017, and 2018:
The data continues to show that for most sites, the majority of their traffic comes from mobile devices. This is a critical fact of life for all business and media websites.
It’s also interesting to consider total time on site. Here is what we see across the three years:
Bear in mind, that’s the percentage of total aggregated time across all visits for mobile, compared with that of desktop. The total time users spend on sites when using desktop devices is still larger than the total time for mobile. This suggests that the time per visit must be longer, as we see here:
Next, let’s take a look at bounce rate. Here is what we saw for 2016, 2017, and 2018:
With the new data sources from SimilarWeb, the mobile bounce rate is back up a bit, but still lower than it was in 2016. As found in last year’s study, we believe that mobile site experiences are improving, and users are getting more comfortable with it. However, desktop still has the lead over mobile as it relates to bounce rate, and that’s not likely to change. For one thing, the use cases for people on mobile devices often involve the need to look something up quickly while they are on the go.
Let’s now take a look at the total page views between desktop and mobile devices:
Because of the new data sources from SimilarWeb, we see a drop in the percentage of total page views from mobile devices vs desktop, but this number is still higher than it was in 2016.
To wrap this section up, let’s also take a look at page views per visitor:
The page views per visitor remain significantly higher on desktop than mobile. This is consistent with the differences in time on site and bounce rate data shown above.