The number of people accessing the Internet from smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices will surpass the number of users connecting from a home or office computer by 2015, according to a new study by market analyst firm IDC.
According to their predictions, smartphones will begin to replace standard-feature phones at an increasingly rapid rate in the coming years, and the tablet sales are expected to “explode,” the company says. “The impact of smartphone and, especially, media tablet adoption will be so great that the number of users accessing the Internet through PCs will first stagnate and then slowly decline.”
IDC estimates that the upward swing in mobile Internet usage will start in the US, and that Western Europe and Japan will quickly follow suit.
The study also predicts that total Internet usage will jump from 2 billion users in 2010 to 2.7 billion in 2015. E-commerce spending will grow from $708 billion per year to $1.285 trillion during the same time period. Advertising spending will also increase, nearly doubling, from a current total of around $70 billion spent on online ads per year, to $138 billion over the next three to four years.
At that point, roughly 40 percent of the world’s population will have access to the Internet.
“Forget what we have taken for granted on how consumers use the Internet,” said Karsten Weide, IDC research president, in a statement. “Soon, more users will access the Web using mobile devices than using PCs, and it’s going to make the Internet a very different place.”
Of course, the evolution from an Internet that’s primarily made up of the World Wide Web to an Internet consisting primarily of dedicated apps has already begun. And if IDC’s numbers are correct, the changes are about to happen at an increasingly quick pace.