Mobile vs. Desktop: Visits and Search Trends

April 14, 2021

Perficient Pageviews per Visitor by Device Apr2021Mobile’s share of website visits continues to increase. Some 61% of site visits in the US came via mobile phones in 2020, up from 57% in 2019. This is per a study from Perficient that also found that the number of pageviews per visitor was lowest on mobile.

The study of 5 trillion site visits in the US in 2020 shows that the largest number of pageviews per visitor occurred on desktops, with an average of 3.68 per session. Tablets were responsible for the second-highest number of average pageviews at 3.11, followed by mobile at 2.54.

Indeed, the number of pageviews per visitor on desktop increased slightly over 2019 (5.7 trillion visits analyzed) when desktop was responsible for an average of 3.59 pageviews per visitor.

The page view per visitor data remains consistent when looking at global figures. Last year, desktops averaged 3.95 pageviews per visitor globally (based on 30.2 trillion visits), while mobile devices averaged 2.67 pageviews per visitor.

Here are some other highlights comparing mobile and desktop:

More Time Spent on Websites Via Desktop

Individuals are also spending more time on sites while on desktops compared to mobile. Last year in the US, the total aggregate time on sites via desktop totaled 0.16 billion hours, while mobile accounted for 0.13 billion hours. This difference in time spent on sites is attributed to the mere convenience afforded by larger screens and keyboards on desktop.

These findings are echoed by research from SEMrush which found that site visitors spent 40% longer when on desktop than on mobile. It also notes that the average time spent on sites has decreased across the board since 2018.

Mobile Accounts for Majority of Visits for News Sites

Data from shows that News sites saw a 134% increase in pageviews in 2020. And, according to Perficient’s analysis, a majority of those News website visits were on mobile devices. Mobile also accounts for the majority of US visits to sites in categories such as Food & Drink, Shopping, and Travel & Transportation.

Desktop, on the other hand, dominated visits for site categories including Business & Industry, Computers & Electronics and Jobs & Education.

Search Traffic Grows

The analysis from SEMrush of the 1,000 most visited websites found that 2020 saw average search traffic volume increase by 22% year-over-year, globally. Moreover, the analysis indicates that two-thirds of the traffic to these sites was on mobile.

Average Bounce Rate Gap Narrows

Although the average bounce rate has been higher on visits via mobile than desktop between 2018 and 2020, the bounce rate on desktop grew steadily in 2020. In fact, by December 2020, the gap had almost disappeared.

URL Position Changes on Mobile Search

SEMrush found that only 11% of URLs maintain the same ranking position on Google as they would on desktop. Furthermore, 3 in 10 (31%) URLs seen on desktop disappear when searching on mobile.

For those URLs that do remain when accessed from mobile, a great deal end up seeing their ranking change either +/- 100 positions (68%), +/- 30 positions (67%) or +/- 10 positions (63%).

SERP Features

SEMrush also looked at the difference in SERP features in Google search results for mobile and desktop. It found that images in organic results were present 12.5 times more often on mobile, while videos in organic results were 3 times more frequent on mobile.

However, featured snippets were featured twice as much on desktop and Google Ads were featured 2.5 times more often on desktop.

Read more here.

About the Data: Findings are based on an analysis of 5.7 trillion visits in the US in 2019 and 5.0 trillion in 2020.

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