Mobile search not as popular as PC despite smartphone rise

19 May 2011

Despite the fact there are almost half as many search-enabled smartphones in circulation worldwide as PCs, mobile search is failing to achieve the popularity of its desktop alter ego, according to research from AccuraCast.

Only mobile searches for ‘ipad’ (55pc of desktop volume) and ‘blackberry apps’ (also at 55pc of desktop volume) are currently managing to reach some level of parity with desktop.

The figures indicate that mobile search queries are only running at around 10pc of the volume of PC-based search, with mobile search rates at 16.5pc of PC search overall.

Even for search topics that are currently the fastest rising in popularity overall, mobile search volumes fail to get anywhere near those of desktop, with top 10 search topics such as ‘justin bieber’ seeing only 20pc of searches carried out via mobile devices.

There are a few notable exceptions – for example, UK searchers prefer to find ‘cricket scores’ via their mobile, with search rates running at more than 270pc of desktop.

“Independent figures show that there are in the region of 500m browser-enabled mobile devices in use worldwide, compared to over 1bn PCs, but the search volumes aren’t even close to parity,” explained Farhad Divecha, director of AccuraCast.  

“Arguably, mobile search has tougher competition than desktop, given the enormous popularity of apps that are increasingly fulfilling the search needs of users. Similarly, search in general is also facing increasing competition from social networking, which is also hugely popular among mobile users.”