Most will access Internet via mobile devices by 2015: IDC

Projects rapid smartphone, tablet growth while sales of desktop, other wired systems begin decline

More people in the US will access the Internet via mobile devices than through desktop computers or other wired devices by 2015, IDC predicted on Monday.

That bold prediction follows a tremendous uptick in smartphone sales in the past two years. IDC projects that nearly 1 billion smartphones will be distributed globally in 2015.

IDC also noted that it expects an explosion of media tablet sales in coming years.

The researcher predicts sales of all wireless device sales in the U.S. will see an annual growth rate of 16.6% between 2010 and 2015.

"Forget what we have taken for granted on how consumers use the Internet," said Karsten Weide, an analyst at IDC. "Soon, more users will access the Web using mobile devices than using PCs. It's going to make the Internet a very different place."

Analysts are already tracking the voracious usage of downloadable mobile apps that take users off the World Wide Web by wirelessly connecting them directly to content on devices. Most smartphone and tablet users download multiple free and paid applications, though IDC didn't say how that trend is affecting Internet usage.

IDC said that smartphone and tablet adoption will be so great that desktop computer usage will at first stagnate and then slowly decline. Western Europe and Japan willl follow the U.S. in the pattern, IDC said.

In its statement, IDC said it projects that the number of Internet users (mobile and wired) globally will jump from 2 billion in 2010 to 2.7 billion in 2015.

In the same period, the business-to-consumer e-commerce market will grow from $708 million to $1.2 billion, IDC said, while online advertising sales will jump from $70 billion to $138 billion. Online advertising as a share of all advertising will jump from nearly 12% in 2010 to nearly 18% in 2015.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Read more about mobile and wireless in Computerworld's Mobile and Wireless Topic Center.

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