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Home > Internet users behaviour > 08/08/2008   

Traffic to mobile websites

This study describes the development of traffic to mobile websites since June 2006.
  • Study conducted from June 2006 to June 2008
  • Perimeter of 396 mobile websites
The trend for visits within the perimeter of a fixed number of mobile websites, which had been upward for 2 years, turned downward over the last 12 months

In reading the following analysis, it is important to understand that the perimeter studied here comprises mobile websites; that is, websites specifically developed for mobile telephones. We have therefore not considered the entire mobile web, particularly visits from a mobile telephone (the iPhone, for example) to a traditional website.

The graph below shows the trend for month-to-month changes in visits recorded within the perimeter of a fixed number of mobile websites from June 2006 to June 2008.

The trend shows a 1.7% increase over 2 years: this means that, for 100 visits to mobile websites recorded in June 2006, slightly fewer than 102 visits were recorded in June 2008.

This relatively modest 2-year increase actually hides a downward trend over the second year:

  • Annual trend in June 2007: +3% vs. June 2006
  • Annual trend in June 2008: -1.2% vs. June 2007


As you can see, visits to mobile websites have not skyrocketed, and even show a slight downward trend for the past 12 months. There are several possible reasons for this:

  • Has the number of mobile websites available grown faster than the number of mobile internet users? Faced with more choice, users would be dispersed across a larger number of mobile websites.

  • Has the current offering of mobile websites reached its limits in terms of appeal because of characteristics such as limited features, relative lack of ergonomics and efficiency or high cost? These in turn make mobile websites less powerful and less interactive than the traditional web.

Many potential mobile internet users are probably waiting for a mobile web experience that is identical to what the traditional web offers in terms of services, legibility of information, interaction and rapid access – in other words, expecting to access the "real" web using knew mobile telephone technologies such as the iPhone, not to mention the iPhone killers. These changing needs can be compared to the decline in cell phone ringtone purchases caused in part by the appearance of new devices, such as mobile telephones that allow users to create their own ringtones, or MP3-compatible devices that give their users complete freedom.

As for the iPhone, XiTi Monitor will report on the status of its penetration in its study on operating systems in September 2008.


The indicator used for this study, measuring the number of visits recorded by a comparable basis of mobile websites, reveals the evolution of the activity of Internet sites.

In the absence of official data on the number and the composition of existing mobile websites, it is in fact not possible to present an indicator reflecting the evolution of the total Web mobile consumption of the Internet users.

In this study, the series which we were interested in is the frequentation of mobile websites. It regards the evolution of audience generated by a fixed number of mobile websites. The series of data successively integrates the daily evolution rate, calculated on a comparable basis over the totality of the mobile websites audited by XiTi. Thus, the evolution of this indicator does not reflect the evolution of the XiTi perimeter, but the arrivals and departures of mobile websites in the latter are integrated into the calculation of our indicator.

The audience recorded on the mobile websites of the XiTi perimeter made it possible to detect very early the existence of seasonal effects, that treatment methods make it possible to extract.

Tools adapted* to the treatment of chronological series allowed us to proceed with the decomposition of this monthly series. The components are:
- The series trend that represents the long-term evolution of the series.
- The seasonal composition representing the fluctuations that are infra annual, monthly, and in our case, those that repeat themselves more-or-less regularly from year to year. It highlights the phases of growth and recession.

A moving average allows a smoothing of the monthly audience; it corresponds to an estimation of the overall trend. The moving trend necessitates, in the time t, the measurements of the series in the time t, but also measurements around t.

In our study, a moving average on 13 terms, symmetric centered on t, is adapted in order to measure the annual trend of a series of monthly data. For the measurement of the moving average at one month m, the measurements of the month m, months m-1 to m-6, and months m+1 to m+6 are necessary. This is what explains the obligation of proceeding with an estimate of this moving average at the period end. Thus, for example, concerning the month of June 2008, when the months from July to December 2008 will be over, the moving average calculated replacing the current estimate, can bring about a slight correction of the seasonal effect.

The annual trend when the data required for the calculation of the moving average is incomplete is an estimation by successive linear regressions, under the hypothesis of quasi-stability of the evolution of the annual trend for the short-term.

*Non-parametric method of deseasonalization.

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