How smartphones have changed the way we access the internet

The way we access and use the internet is undergoing a seismic change as the trend of traditional desktop computer ownership continues to fall.

The use of desktop computers has plunged from 70% in 2008 to under 40% in a decade. This phenomenon has been driven by the growing popularity of mobile devices such as cellphones and tablets, with some important distinctions. While the use of traditional cellphones has remained steady, there has been an explosion in the use of smartphones over the past decade.

Advances in cellphone technology

Cellphones such as iPhones have undergone significant improvements in terms of screen size, processing power, and memory, which means these phones are able to satisfy the needs of users for a variety of uses such as watching movies online. Apple is predicted to be one of the winners of the current battle between various streaming services due to the company’s involvement at the cutting edge of mobile technology.

The rise in the use of smartphone devices has also changed how people interact with the internet as people are increasingly using website services and apps while they are on the go. Again, this is reflected in the popularity of mobile devices. The Amazon Kindle launched in 2007 as people began to consume books differently and ever since the Apple iPad exploded onto the scene in 2010, there has been exponential growth in the tablet market, which means the devices have now reached ownership levels equivalent to the more cumbersome laptops.

The rapid growth of apps

This is leading to a shift in website development, as a whole, due to the requirement for web pages to be optimized for mobile use. Some websites were designed first and foremost for mobile use, such as the instant messaging apps WhatsApp and Snapchat, although both services have recently introduced desktop versions. Further innovations such as Apple Business Chat are giving companies the chance to engage with customers via their iPhones.

Companies are promoting their apps more than ever by highlighting their convenience and offering rewards to customers. The Starbucks app gives customers the opportunity to skip queues by ordering in advance and the chance to earn free drinks by collecting stars from app purchases. This shift in customer behavior now means that 25% of all Starbucks purchases are now made via the app. Amazon offers customers extra features and exclusive promotions, such as notifications about the latest deals, to encourage customers to use its app.

The video game industry has also witnessed growth driven by the popularity of smartphone games, which make up 45% of total worldwide revenue in the sector. According to Statista, revenue from mobile video games, such as Call of Duty Mobile and Grand Theft Auto Online, was $41.7 billion in the US in 2022. Worldwide revenue from mobile video games is set to exceed $100 billion by 2023.

In some sectors the apps are more sophisticated, for example, sports betting apps need to satisfy a number of requirements, in particular with regard to usability and security. Usability refers to a reliable app for in-play betting, when using live dealer casinos and for live streaming of sports, but also an easy-to-navigate experience where players can find what they are looking for quickly and easily. The top sports betting apps available on iOS and Android like Caesars and FanDuel Sportsbooks are also viewed as a sign of distinction for customers as it demonstrates that the operator is investing in its platform and is serious about providing players with the best possible experience.

As the ownership of desktop computers continues to fall, the use of mobile devices is experiencing a boom which reflects how consumers access the internet. Nowadays, consumers are increasingly using apps for shopping and entertainment, while improvements in the technology of smartphones allow companies to offer a seamless experience to their customers in a wide variety of sectors.