15 Mobile UX Facts and Insights 2015

Jeff Sauro, PhD

The world continues to go mobile.

And in the process, designers, programmers and product stakeholders continue to ask questions about the mobile landscape, from demographics to usage.

We first presented a number of facts and insights in 2013.

Here’s an updated version with some new additions and a look back on how accurate some of the 2013 projections were. I’ve again included as many sources as possible so you can double check our conclusions.

  1. Around 57% of US and 68% of UK mobile phones are smartphones. That’s up from 50% and 52% respectively in 2013. Singapore and South Korea both have over 80% smartphone rates. It’s anticipated that around half the world’s mobile phones will be smartphones by 2017 and 25% of the global population will have a smartphone.
  2. A bit more than half the US Internet population owns a tablet, which is more than double the 2013 rate.   Android has the dominant mobile operating system, with about 53% compared to iOS’s 39%. Things were more evenly split in 2013.
  3. The tablet browsing share was expected to overtake smartphones and reach 10% by 2014, but it plateaued below that mark as larger phone screens[pdf] have grown in popularity.
  4. Tablet usage is still most popular in the evening. We found the most concentrated time was used at home, on the couch, or bed between 7 and 10pm in our studies. It’s not surprising then that 93% of tablet browsing is done via WiFi[pdf] versus cellular.
  5. US users have on average twice as many apps as in 2013: 42 apps on smartphones, and 35 on tablets. Nearly 90% use less than 10% of those apps on a daily basis and most people forget what apps they even downloaded as low-value apps get banished to the 3rd or 4th screen on their mobile device.
  6. Mobile applications are predominantly used for killing time.
  7. Users still slightly prefer shopping on mobile websites, with 58% of mobile revenue coming from mobile websites compared to 42% for native applications.
  8. 84% of smartphone shoppers use their devices in-store[pdf]. Price comparisons[pdf] is now the most common in-store smartphone use across shopping categories.  Those who use their mobile devices to help shop tend to spend more.
  9. Tablet sales increased by 68% from 2012 to 2013, while PC shipments dropped by 98%. 
  10. Device switching is now very common, with 40% of online adults switching activities to another device–60% switched to a laptop, and only 25% switched to a tablet.
  11. QR code use has flattened in recent years, continuing a pattern we saw in 2013.
  12. For tablets, viewing is still about evenly split between portrait and landscape, with a slight preference to landscape (60% of the time) for iPad users.
  13. The conversion rate from tablets (about 3%) is 3 times higher than smartphones (about 1%). Tablet conversion rates are increasing while smartphones conversion rates have declined.
  14. Around half of internet shoppers use multiple devices while shopping.
  15. Security concerns remain the predominant barrier to mobile purchases, followed by the inconvenience of entering large amounts of data on a mobile device–something we still see in our 1:1 mobile usability tests.

While the mobile landscape continues to change, many patterns continue to hold. We’ll see how things look in the next couple years.


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