Every year studies show that mobile device usage is not a passing fad. Mobile is here to stay and only getting stronger. Any business still dragging its heels into the mobile revolution risks getting left in the dust.

The good news is that mobile devices have captured the attention of a generation. By treating mobile browsing as an opportunity rather than a hindrance, businesses stand to grab a huge customer base, rather than leaving it to the competition.

Having a Mobile Friendly Website Is Essential


If you were worried that mobile browsing would surpass desktop browsing, you don’t have to worry anymore. That’s because it already has.

As early as 2016, mobile browsing made up more than 50% of all website visits. Your website’s first impression is now more likely to be in mobile format than in desktop format.


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The Mobile First Index


Catering to user habits is only the tip of the iceberg. Mobile-friendliness became even less optional when Google introduced “mobile-first indexing.”

Whereas in the past Google’s indexing robots would prowl your desktop site first, the robots now crawl the mobile version first. If the crawlers detect no mobile friendliness, Google automatically ranks your site lower.

Your site could be turning up lower in relevant searches just because you haven’t implemented responsive web design. If your competitor’s sites rank higher, they are 90% more likely to get the business or the lead than your lower-ranked site.

Mobile Users vs. Desktop Users


Mobile device usage peaks in the morning and at night, while desktop use holds a plateau of advantage during business hours.

What are the key differences between mobile and desktop users?

Mobile users tend to look for specific information that they need right then and there, while desktop users spend more time browsing immersively.

Desktop users spend three times longer on sites, visit more pages, and have less than half the bounce-back rate.

That being said, according to Nielsen, more than half of all shoppers polled reported doing research on mobile devices before making an online purchase, even if that purchase was ultimately made on a desktop.

Users Spend More Time on Mobile Devices Now Than Ever


Users spend between three and five hours per day on mobile devices. This includes time spent waiting in lines, on public transportation, waiting for events to start, at the gym, or sitting at home. Mobile friendly sites give businesses access to that many more eyes.

A Majority of Users Search Google for Businesses


69% of web users look for businesses using a search engine at least once per month. Only 8% never do.

With Google dominating the market with 64% of all searches, the Google ranking of a business website has the power to make or break that business.

The Disadvantage of a Desktop Website on a Mobile Screen


If half of all web browsing takes place on mobile devices, you could be losing half your potential business if you lack mobile friendly design, even if you rank high on Google searches for your exact product or service.

Desktop sites are code-heavy and may take a long time for a weaker smartphone processor to load. Content or images that look elegant on a desktop may look cramped and busy on a smartphone.

Your smartphone users may have to use their fingers to scroll awkwardly around the site for the desired content, participants in an unexpected and unwanted treasure hunt. Links may be tiny and hard to tap accurately. Scrolling and pinch-zooming to see the content, users may accidentally click links they did not want to click.

non-mobile-friendly website phone screenshot.
Phone screenshot of a desktop-only, non-mobile-friendly website.
A screenshot of a desktop only website on a mobile phone.
Another screenshot of a desktop only website on a mobile phone.

It’s a disastrous first impression.

With mobile technology firmly entrenched in the culture, a desktop-optimized site loading on a smartphone makes the business look unprofessional and out-of-touch.

The reflection on user behavior could not be starker – as many as 71% of users bounce back immediately if a site does not feature mobile friendly design.

Word of Mouth Is Powerful


Bad user experience does not stay secret in the social media age. These customers share their buying experiences, either in person with friends and family or by social media.

Serve them well and their recommendations will lead to new business. Serve them poorly, and they are just as likely to tell their network to stay away.

That’s a lot of bad press for something as basic as an outdated web site.

Responsive Web Design for Conversion Rates


With more than half of all online purchase starting with mobile web research, a fast, responsive web design stands to boost your lead collection and conversion ratios significantly.

Even if all you get from a mobile browser is an email address or phone number, that is a lead you can nurture over time. Moreover, tracking pixels can identify your mobile web visitors and allow you to re-target them for future offers.

It’s all for nothing, though, if your site looks bad on the small screen or the user bounces back before the site can even load. 40% of consumers report that they will divert to a competitor after a bad mobile experience.

Online Sales from Mobile Devices Are Expected to Rise


Although more than half of all online purchases start with mobile research, only 30% of online purchases take place on the phone.

With the integration of mobile wallets like Google Pay and Apple Wallet, this figure stands to increase dramatically as mobile web design becomes better and better at managing the purchase journey on the small screen. By 2020, 45% of purchases are expected to take place on a mobile device, accounting for $250 billion in sales.

Mobile friendliness now can put your business in a position to take advantage of this trend.

Regular Shoppers Use Smartphones Too


Although a majority of sales do not take place on a smartphone, it is still a regular behavior for a majority of consumers, especially in the U.S. 60% of all shoppers in the U.S. and 20% of shoppers worldwide make a purchase from a smartphone at least once a month.

The advantages of mobile optimization do not end with online purchasing, however. 60% of shoppers report using their smartphones to look up purchases while in stores.

Deloitte Consulting estimates that digital interactions influence 56 cents out of every dollar that changes hands for a brick-and-mortar retailer. Additionally, 40% of consumers use phones to download digital coupons.

Your mobile impression continues even once consumers have walked through your doors.

More Closed Leads


If your business relies on the closing of leads, mobile optimization makes it easier in several ways.

First of all, if your site ranks low on Google due to mobile-first indexing, your potential leads may never find you. Page two of a Google search may as well be page ten – 91% of searchers never make it past page one.

Secondly, web leads are just better leads. A lead captured as a result of a web search is fourteen times more likely to close than a cold call or direct mail lead.

Finally, mobile optimization helps capture that vital 51% of browsers that will encounter your site on a mobile device first. If the site is clunky, slow, and hard to use, they will never enter their contact information and you don’t get the lead.

Readable Mobile Content to Boost Sales


Trust is critical in buying decisions. 47% of consumers will see five pieces of content from a business before ever speaking to a salesman. Making that content easy to read on a mobile device helps you clear that critical hurdle of trust.

Fail to make your content mobile-friendly, and your web site is actually standing in the way of closing more business.

Mobile-Responsiveness Drives Local Shopping


This doesn’t just matter for e-commerce or huge brands. Google has reported the precipitous rise of “near me” appended to searches – “gym near me,” “shoe store near me,” “pizza place near me,” etc.

76% of users who searched for something nearby on their smartphone visited a related business within a day, and 28% of those searches resulted in a purchase.

Mobile Optimization for the Crucial Millennial Demographic


Much has been made of millennial’s addiction to their phones, but there’s no denying the power of the smartphone in purchasing decisions among this crucial demographic.

Smartphones influence 84% of millennial purchases. 63% of millennials report shopping on their smartphone every day. 14% of millennials share some aspect of their purchase experience immediately afterward on social media, usually using – you guessed it – their phones.

The time for debate is over. Implementing mobile-friendliness across online platforms is not optional - it is essential for any business, whether a startup or a blue chip, to compete at this stage in the digital revolution.
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