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Worldwide web usage: mobile and tablet overtakes desktop for the first time

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Internet usage from mobile devices (51.26%) overtook usage from desktop devices (48.74%) for the first time in October 2016, according to data from StatCounter. In fact, smartphones alone now account for 46.53% of web use, with traffic from tablets at 4.73%.

While internet usage from tablets has remained relatively stable year on year, at around 5%, it's smartphone use that has tipped the balance, gaining almost nine percentage points in 12 months.

The trend for increasing mobile web usage is global, although it's considerably more marked in developing countries where smartphones -- even entry-level handsets -- play a more central role than in the USA or Europe, for example, where web users have several devices at their disposal both at home and in the office.

India is a case in point, with 78.82% of web traffic from mobile devices. On the other hand, mobile web usage in the UK (44.38%), the USA (42.03%) and Germany (34.64%) is much lower, even if surfing from a smartphone is clearly on the up. Mobile internet use is even lower in France, with just 29.56% of web usage coming from mobile devices (22.96% for smartphones and 6.6% for tablets).

StatCounter's worldwide internet usage data is based on over 15 billion page views per month to a selection of over 2.5 million websites.