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In the mobile app era, is website demand down?

There is no doubt that the increase in mobile devices and internet adoption has significantly increased mobile app utilization. But this doesn’t mean that website demand isn’t growing too.

App downloads are increasing but that doesn’t mean website demand is dropping.

A recent mobile vs desktop usage study shows that the time people spend on desktop sites increased from 2017 to 2018 [1] , taking some of the market shares off the mobile.

Why is this the case? Consider the use of cases for websites. You use them to read articles, shop and read product reviews or blogs. Mobile usage seems to be more focused on social media including quick check-ins with friends and short messages. What we are saying here is that the engagement on desktop appears to be higher than that of mobile devices.

Domain name registrations are increasing

Another fact is that between Q2 and Q3 of 2018, the number of domains registered has increased by approximately 2.6 million[2]. Given that most of the domains are registered to host websites. So, we can say that the demand for websites is steadily increasing.

There are also a number of new Top Level Domains being introduced into the domain name ecosystem. Upcoming TLDs include .web .charity and .fan [3].

There is certainly no end in sight for the introduction of new TLDs, creating a path to the birth of more and more websites.

Many mobile apps are actually highly responsive websites

It’s easier in some respects for developers to frame a website into a mobile application. There are many reasons for this. The core benefits are:

  • Cost. It’s cheaper to build a responsive website that works for both desktop and mobile at the same time.
  • Development speed. It doesn’t take forever to build a responsive website.
  • No publishing complications. To get a mobile app to your audience, you need to publish it into a mobile app store. There are rigorous requirements and sometimes charges to do this.
  • Available for all. Website can be accessed with any internet connected device whereas apps cannot be accessed from desktops or if the app isn’t build for a user’s particular device type.
  • No update help. App update needs to go through the app store for validation and the user needs to get them installed. With a responsive website, this isn’t required.
  • Access. Anyone can get a basic website up and running quickly with the latest hosting providers who provide website builders. Such things simply are not available for apps at the same low price and convenience.

When we look at app usage statistics, we really need to look into the data to see how many of those apps are just wrappers for responsive websites. If they are then that app usage should be counted towards website usage in the statistics.

There are over 4 billion internet users

A study published by wearesocial.com shows that out of the world’s population of approximately 7.6 billion in January 2019, 57% of the population are internet users. That’s a lot of people are visiting websites and a lot more to come.

It’s true that a higher percentage are unique mobile users but the growth of internet users year on year was a 9.1% increase vs only a 2% rise for unique mobile users.

Image credit: wearesocial.com[4]

Further reading of the study reveals that google.com remains the most visited website in January 2019

Image credit: wearesocial.com[5]

Web developers are in high demand

Another way to measure website demand is to look at the job market.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, web developer employment will grow by 27% between 2014 and 2024, much faster than average of all jobs[6].

This just shows the intense grown of the web market. If website demand was dropping then the rate of demand for web developers would also drop.

The worlds most visited website

Google.com remains the worlds most visited website with 5.6 billion searches daily[7] (in 2018). If website demand was dropping, why so many web searches?

Web users are continuously looking for information online, a search in google will list recommended website to visit based on your search query. This is nothing new. The point here is that is web searches are increasing then surely website visits are on the rise too?

Marketing

The first thing people do when they are searching your brand, product or service is to check your website. Not every business has or needs an app. With massive growth in e-commerce, you can only imagine how important a website is to your credibility.

Without a website, marketing becomes a challenge. Almost every online business will have a website and as online commerce is increasing, we can say that website growth is certainly not going down.

The number of website is growing

Perhaps the most obvious way to measure website growth is by looking at the increasing number of websites by year.

Image credit: internetlivestats.com

Year on year, the numbers fluctuate but the trend is certainly upwards. According to internetlivestats.com in 2019, there are over 1.6 billion websites. Looking back to just 2016, there have been approximately the growth of 600 million websites.

The number of websites wouldn’t be increasing with a curve like this if there was no demand for them. In the app vs website debate, do you know of any app that doesn’t have a corresponding website? I don’t think so.

Summary

While mobile traffic continues to grow, it’s important to remember that not all mobile traffic is app generated. There are still numerous reasons why someone would visit a website rather than an app. Likewise, there are many reasons to develop a website over an app. The world’s most visited website search engine boasts over 5.6 billion daily searches for websites and it isn’t slowing down.

Even, if the time came for website demand to reduce, there are still various reasons to invest in a website including for marketing and brand awareness which means websites are here to stay.

What do you think?

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Written by jusica smith

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