The mobile web and the PC web may not be all that different, but data out today from comScore implies that the users are. Numbers released by the group suggest that those spending the least amount of time in front of their PCs are 30 percent more likely to surf on their mobiles.
It’s all a bit obvious, if you think about it — if you’re sitting at a desk all day online, you don’t need to use a mobile to access information — but it also negates the assumption that the heaviest PC web surfers are the same people using their phones to go online.
The study found that 15.2 percent of light PC Internet users accessed news and information on their mobile device at least once per week, compared to just 11.7 percent of heavy PC Internet users. Heavy PC Internet users (20 percent of those surveyed) were defined as those who viewed 6,701 pages on average in a month, light users (about 50 percent of those surveyed) as those who viewed 1,104 pages. The rest were classified as medium users.
The study determined that mobile Internet users are more likely to be males (58 percent) aged 18-44. Heavy mobile Internet users also show a high engagement with web sites that provide information such as regional and local content, entertainment and sports information. You know, the fun stuff.
In contrast, light mobile Internet users are heavier users of the PC, and gravitate toward Internet content that includes education, conversational media, travel, business/finance and retail — in other words, pretty much everything else. Notably, much of it would also be difficult to consume while on the go.
If you think about web usage as being either consumption- or contribution-based, much of mobile activity falls into the consumption category, likely because of the limitations involved in typing in a blog post or researching a vacation on a cell phone. So it’s possible that even heavy Internet users will spend more time on mobiles if there were a way for them to contribute easily while on the go.
Even without heavy PC web users replicating their voracious surfing on cell phones, mobile web use keeps growing. In total, 42 million people used their mobile devices in October 2008 to access news and information content on the Internet, an increase of 57 percent from October 2007. The study covered usage for the three-month average ended October 2008, and 1,328 people participated.