Zenith forecasts 75% of internet use will be mobile in 2017

Mobile devices will account for 75% of global Internet use next year, according to Zenith’s new Mobile Advertising Forecasts. The mobile proportion of Internet use has increased rapidly, from 40% in 2012 to 68% in 2016, and we forecast it to reach 79% by 2018.

This first edition of the Mobile Advertising Forecasts looks at mobile advertising and mobile technology in 60 key countries around the world. It forecasts the rising amount of time consumers devote to mobile internet use, the spread of smartphones and tablets, and the growth of mobile ad spend.

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Mobile internet accounts for the highest proportion of total internet use in Spain, where Zenith estimates that it will account for 85% of internet use in 2016. Hong Kong comes second, with 79% of internet use being mobile, followed by China (76%) and the United States (74%). Italy and India come joint fifth, at 73% each.

Zenit forecast is that by 2018 Hong Kong will have the highest mobile internet use, accounting for 89% of total internet use. China will be second with 87% and Spain third with 86%, followed by the United States and Italy at 83% each, and India at 82%.

The increase in mobile internet use is being driven by the rapid rise in the penetration of mobile devices. Smartphone penetration has now reached 56%, and increase of 2.4 times over four years, and is forecasted to rise to 63% by 2018.

Tablets are owned by 15% of people in our 60 markets now, and will reach 17% penetration in 2018.

Mobile advertising will overtake desktop advertising in 2017, increasing its share of global internet advertising to 52% from 44% this year. In 2018 Zenith expects mobile advertising to account for 60% of all internet advertising. That year mobile advertising expenditure will total US$134bn, which is more than will be spent on newspaper, magazine, cinema and outdoor advertising put together.

Zenith advises that all brands need to become mobile-first in their digital communication: all assets – from brand websites to video ads – should be built to deliver the best and most effective experiences on mobile devices.

Advertisers also need to think about consumer mobility, not just mobile devices. During the day consumers shift their attention from tablet to desktop to smartphone, sometimes while watching TV, so advertisers need to build brand experiences that are coherent across screens and devices.


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