Mobile access continues to grow, but has tablet access stalled?

Digital Media
July 16, 2015

This graphic is a good reminder us that we should all keep reviewing our data, not just collect it.

Back in 2013, we published this post about quick wins for optimising visitor pages:

Making visitor information easier for mobile phone users

At the time, The increase in mobile and tablet access was steadily increasing. Someone asked me recently if the trend was continuing. I thought I’d look. Here’s what the data looks like:

Year on year (roughly!) growth of mobile and tablet traffic 2012 - 2015. Mobile is steadily growing. Tablet may have peaked
Year on year (roughly!) growth of mobile and tablet traffic 2012 – 2015. Mobile is steadily growing. Tablet may have peaked.

As before the way we access information is different depending on the content we are accessing. This is important to remember.

For visitor information pages, mobile traffic on mobile is approaching the same amount as desktop. For the site as a whole mobile is now a quarter of all traffic. This is the same as traffic to visitor pages was two years previously. It may mean that the whole site will have that level of access in two years time, although people actively visiting are probably always more likely to use their mobiles.

Interestingly, it appears tablet traffic  may have peaked.

How to do this yourself

To get these graphs, use Audience > Mobile > Overview in Google Analytics

To separate the visitor stats, set up an advanced segment to record any visits that include a visit to your specific visitor information pages.

Showing the advanced segment menu in Google Analytics

About the author

Digital Media
July 16, 2015

Digital Content Delivery Manager at the V&A. Information scientist at work and hacky maker of strange things out of it.

More from Andrew Lewis
1 comment so far, view or add yours


I think it’s interesting how tablet share decreased right around the same time that Apple introduced an absurdly large iPhone. It may indicate that more people are trying to get the two device categories to converge, or that there are just more smartphone users. It would be interesting to see the raw numbers and not just the percentages to see if tablet has shrunk at all or if phone has just grown that much more rapidly (also to see if desktop is shrinking or staying stable relative to phone).

I also wonder how much of user behavior is dictated by product updates and availability. The tablets introduced in 2014 were all pretty lackluster and offered very little to attract new users or inspire upgrades from existing ones. This fall should bring a major leap for the iPad and probably a pretty decent update to Windows tablets. I wonder if the numbers will swing back a little again as tablets start to take more users from away laptops and fewer from phones. In the end, it’s something I track on our museum’s sites almost monthly. It’s surprising how much the numbers change just from quarter to quarter.

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