It’s inevitable that in the not too distant future there will be more mobile internet users that those accessing the internet on a PC. And today research firm IDC forecast that day will come in the US in 2015:
By 2015, more U.S. Internet users will access the Internet through mobile devices than through PCs or other wireline devices. As smartphones begin to outsell simpler feature phones, and as media tablet sales explode, the number of mobile Internet users will grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.6% between 2010 and 2015.
There are a range of other predictions and forecasts in the report from which this is taken. Among them, “the total number of Internet user[s globally] will grow from 2 billion in 2010 to 2.7 billion in 2015, when 40% of the world’s population will have access to its vast resources.”
IDC tracks mobile phone sales and shipments very closely; however the firm has a mixed record when it comes to forecasting future developments and ad revenues. IDC has also made a bold prediction (so has Gartner) that by 2015 Windows Phones will be second only to Android devices in terms of global penetration. (This is largely based on the Nokia relationship and it very much remains to be seen.)
If more people in the US and around the world are accessing the internet on mobile devices (including tablets) can mobile search be far behind? No. It may not come as fast as 2015 but within perhaps five to seven years mobile search queries (broadly defined) will almost certainly outstrip those on the PC.
Indeed, Google recently projected that almost half of last-minute shopping queries this season will come from smartphones and tablets: “44 percent of total searches for last minute gifts and store locator terms will be from mobile devices this holiday season based on historical growth rates.”