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Trend: Wireless+Mobile Device Traffic to Pass PC Desktops by 2017 - May 2013 Bandwidth Report

Summary: Mobile devices will dominate desktops by 2017, according to predictions by Cisco. While desktop PC traffic now dominates non-PC traffic, the situation will reverse by 2017.

Traffic from wireless and mobile devices will exceed wired devices by 2017, according to Cisco Systems, Inc. (see Figure 1). While desktop PC usage will grow by only 14% annually, mobile devices will grow at a much faster rate.

Non-PC IP traffic by consumers - 2012-2017

Figure 1: Non-PC IP traffic by consumers - 2012-2017
Source: CISCO VNI 2013

Tablet usage is predicted to grow by 104% a year, machine-to-machine (M2M) by 82% per year, and mobile phone traffic by 79% (see Figure 2).

Internet traffic growth by device - 2012-2017 CAGR

Figure 2: Internet traffic growth by device - 2012-2017 CAGR
Source: CISCO VNI 2013

Wireless + Mobile Devices to Dominate Desktop Internet Traffic

In fact the current dominance of desktop PCs over wireless devices on the Internet will flip by 2017. In 2012 59% of Internet traffic was from wired devices (desktop PCs etc.), and 41% was from wireless and mobile devices. By 2017 wireless and mobile devices will account for 55% of Internet traffic, with wired devices at 45%.

Internet traffic from devices - 2012-2017

Figure 3: Internet traffic from devices - 2012-2017
Source: CISCO VNI 2013

Asia Pacific to Dominate Mobile Internet Traffic

By 2017, the Asia Pacific region will dominate global Mobile Internet traffic with nearly 2 exabytes of data and about 1/2 the global share of traffic (see Figure 4).

Mobile Internet traffic by Region - 2012-2017

Figure 4: Mobile Internet traffic by Region - 2012-2017
Source: CISCO VNI 2013

Conclusion

In 2013 mobile devices accounted for 15-20% of web traffic, depending on which analyst you believe. In the next 4-5 years the share of mobile and wireless traffic will nearly double. By 2017 mobile+wireless traffic will exceed desktop traffic. At these growth rates, mobile share will exceed 30-40% of all web traffic by 2016-2017. These trends show the importance of mobile-optimized websites ("responsive") and mobile website performance.

Further Reading

Mary Meeker is Back with her 2013 Internet Trends Report Slides
Mobile now makes up 15% of Web traffic, up from 10% a year ago. Mary Meeker Internet Trends Report, May 29, 2013.
Cisco's Visual Networking Index Forecast Projects Nearly Half the World's Population Will Be Connected to the Internet by 2017
Global IP Traffic Predicted to Grow Three-fold from 2012 to 2017.
Cisco's Visual Networking Index
Based on Cisco's own internal data and other sources the VNI predicts Internet trends with nifty interactive apps.

By website optimization on 31 May 2013 PM

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