Youth say no to the desktop and yes to mobile

"The next generation will grow up knowing the Web mostly through their mobile phones" Jon von Tetzchner, Co-founder, Opera

A worldwide survey of over 300,000 users by Opera show’s that 18-27 year-olds (Generation Y) use their mobile phones to browse the Web more often than they use a desktop or laptop computer, and the average age for your first mobile phone is 15.5.

“We have often said that the next generation will grow up knowing the Web mostly through their mobile phones,” said Jon von Tetzchner, Co-founder, Opera. “We see this trend already emerging in different regions around the world. The mobile Web will bring a profound change in how we connect with one another. I think the results from this survey already show that change taking place.”

Youth and the Mobile Web

The State of the Mobile Web report this month focuses on young mobile users, worldwide and comes up with some interesting statistics for how the Generation Y market are using their phones. Generation Y represents not just the future of mobile but they’re also the largest group of Opera Mini users, and are currently driving the mobile revolution as well as directing the way we look at mobile usage.

The survey differs from the normal Opera survey is based on data from over 300,000 mobile users who were asked a series of 21 questions between July and August

More mobile access

Access to the internet via mobile compared to desktop

The headline stat from the survey is the majority of Gen Y users in all of the listed countries, except for Germany and Poland, said that they use Opera Mini (on a phone) more often than a desktop or laptop computer to access the Internet. In the UK 35% said they used the desktop compared to 65% accessing the internet from mobile.

Countries (namely, Poland, Germany, United States, and Brazil) with the highest percentage of respondents using desktop or laptop computers as the primary means of

Internet access were countries where smartphones are among the top handsets used.
Understandably the figures for countries where desktops are rare, and mobiles are plentiful, skew the worldwide total somewhat. For example in Nigeria, South Africa, and Indonesia, over 90% of Generation Y users said they use their mobile phones more than desktop or laptop computers to access the Internet.

UK tots top the chart

Age for your first mobile phone

The age at which users get their first mobile seems to be fairly static worldwide, the majority get their mobile phone between the ages of 11-20, however there’s a growing number of 0-10 year olds getting a mobile phone in India, Nigeria, UK, Germany and Poland. More than 12% of 0-10 year olds in the UK – the highest percentage on the survey beating Poland with 11% – have a mobile compared to just 4% in the US.

Nearly everyone had used a phone to browse the web on public transit, most (an average of more than 70% worldwide – apart from Germany with an unfriendly 57%) had a friend who they had met online but who they had never met. Mobile blogging was most popular among users in China, Ukraine, and Russia, and least popular among users in Poland, Vietnam, Germany, and the United States.


Lastly newspaper publishers in China and the US should be worried, as Generation Y’s in both China and the United States share a disdain for printed newspapers. 53% of respondents in the United States and 57% of respondents in China rarely or never read physical newspapers.

More results can be obtained in the latest Opera State of the Mobile web report

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