Hold those caps: The average web page is now almost 1MB

Mobile broadband caps might not be putting the hurt on most mobile subscribers yet, but data usage is going to keep creeping up. And that’s without people doing any more actual browsing.

The HTTP Archive charted the growth of the average web page and found that average web pages have grown from 726 KB a year ago to 965 KB now. The 33 percent jump is due in large part to more images and third-party scripts like ads and analytics. Javascript content, spurred on by the rise of HTML5, has grown over the last year by 44.7 percent, according to analysis by Royal Pingdom.

This, of course, is nothing new. The average web page has been growing in size year over year. Back in 1995, the average web page was 14.1 KB. But with the rise of new capped mobile broadband plans, it adds an additional wrinkle for mobile users who have to submit to these limits. Even if they don’t change their behavior, their data usage on mobile browsers will continue to expand with the size of web pages.

This is another good reminder that web sites should invest in mobile optimized sites. Not only do they appear better and load faster on mobile devices but they also have the potential to ease the data crunch on users by presenting a more streamlined page. A survey in June commissioned by Google and the Mobile Marketing Association found that only 33 percent of U.S. businesses have mobile optimized sites. Consumers are also increasingly showing their impatience with sites that don’t load well on mobile devices.

The growing size of web pages might also might push more consumers toward data compression options like Opera’s mobile browser, Skyfire’s browser and Onavo’s data crunching service. And it’s going to have to ultimately force carriers to reconsider where they want to set their data tiers. The existing plans may keep most of users under the caps for now. But with rising usage, not to mention the growing size of web pages, the average user’s data consumption will be shifting upward over time.

Image courtesy of Flickr user mking1783