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ADI: Is Europe In The Middle Of A Smartphone Divide?

Europe is in the middle of a smartphone divide, as website traffic continues to grow at the expense of tablets and desktops, while mobile apps are becoming increasingly important for loyalty, according to the latest report from Adobe Digital Insights (ADI), released this week at the start of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Website traffic in Europe has been fairly static for the last five years. However, smartphone visits continue to grow, increasing in Europe by 156% since 2014. In comparison, traffic from desktop and laptop computers fell by 25% in the same period, while tablet visits increased by 6% but the share of visits remained fairly static.

Outside of Europe, smartphone sales are driving global growth, with 500 million new internet users gaining access to the web from their phones. The biggest growth in new smartphone internet users has come from India (269 million), China (97 million), and Brazil (35 million).

With an increased uptake in smartphones in developing nations, brands need to prepare themselves for an upcoming surge in traffic from countries such as China and India, with both Brazil and Argentina seeing the fastest growth in traffic, which is up an average of 43% year-on-year. ADI predicts that China and Brazil will lead the global smartphone charge.

An Appetite For Apps?
The emergence of the Apple iPhone in 2008 was followed by a massive growth in mobile apps. There are now over 2 million mobile apps available from the iTunes and Google Play stores. However, apps are often deleted because they are either not useful, there are better apps, or they are never used (ADI Mobile Survey 2016, U.S.). In the U.K., France, and Germany, app installs have declined by an average of 5% since 2014. In comparison, app installs in the U.S. have decreased by 38% between 2014 and 2016. New and repeat usage has already plateaued in the U.K., and looks set to decline in the coming years.

The January Effect
One global trend that could have a significant impact on marketers is what ADI calls the January effect. The New Year brings, on average, a 9% growth in traffic globally, which is immediately lost in February. This growth, however, is more pronounced in affluent countries when it comes to an increase in tablet traffic, while mobile traffic is greater for smartphones in developing countries.

Marketers could capitalise on this surge of mobile and app traffic by creating strategies that can retain the surge throughout the year. This global spike in January is also matched by growth in app downloads and usage, which may be tied in with the purchase of smart devices over Christmas. However, this growth decreases as the year goes on.

Tablets Fail To Make A Comeback?
Although in 2014 it was predicted that tablet sales would overtake PC sales in 2015, the use of tablets to access the internet may soon be in decline if Europe follows U.S. trends, where tablet visit share has dropped from 10% in 2014 to 8% in 2016. Tablet visits in Europe have grown over the last few years, especially in Finland, Germany, and France. However, tablets have not gained share across Europe since 2014. Only Germany bucked the trend, with tablet share of traffic holding steady at 10%.

Black Friday, which is now common not just in the U.S., is also increasingly popular in parts of Europe. However, significant drops in tablet prices, by 25% in the U.S., failed to kick-start traffic in the U.S., which suggests that tablet traffic may see a decline in Europe as the market matures.

AMP Up Your Mobile Experience
Google’s mobile accelerated mobile pages (AMP), which launched in February 2016, allow static mobile content to download instantly and have dramatically impacted on traffic to publisher sites that use the technology, with AMP page hits growing in the U.S. by 405%. Around the U.S. presidential election there was a spike of 896%. European publishers such as The Guardian, Axel Springer, Trinity Mirror, and the Financial Times are already using this technology to deliver their mobile content.

Click here to view a larger version of this report on Slideshare.

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