by Ryan Whitwam, ExtremeTech
A decade ago, almost all web browsing was happening on desktop and laptop computers. The explosion in smartphone popularity has rapidly changed the dynamic, and older predictions may have underestimated the impact. According to new report from comScore, computer use is dropping off quickly as mobile devices encourage new types of interaction. In fact, many younger people don’t use computers at all, instead relying entirely upon their smartphones.
The conventional wisdom a few years ago was that desktop usage (desktop meaning both “desktop” and “laptop” PCs) would level off or grow at a slower rate in the face of mobile device adoption. However, the trends aren’t following that model. The data gathered by comScore points to substantial year-over-year drops in desktop usage. In December 2015, desktop Internet use was down 9.5% compared with the previous year. In January 2016 it was down 7.6%. February and March of this year were better at 2% and 6% down, but the trend looks to be continuing.
In addition to the comScore data, The Wall Street Journal notes that it saw desktop traffic peak back in March of 2015 (567 billion total minutes of desktop web usage). Since then, the trend has been negative. At the same time, mobile use is up dramatically with more than one trillion total minutes of activity last month. comScore’s report estimates that mobile accounts for 65% of digital media time, and apps make up 56% of it.
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