Mobile Surpasses Desktop in Search Queries

As of last year, mobile has overtaken desktop for local search query volume, according to recent research from BIA/Kelsey.

The market research firm found that 66.5 million local search queries were made via mobile devices to desktop’s 65.6. By the end of this year, those numbers will be significantly more disparate: desktop will decline to 64.6 million, while mobile will swell 23 percent to 81.8 million.


That trend will continue over the next five years, with local desktop searches predicted to decrease by about 500,000 each year. Mobile’s growth will be much more rapid, jumping to 13 billion queries by next year alone. By 2019, BIA/Kelsey anticipates an annual 62.3 billion local desktop searches versus 141.9 billion for mobile.

As mobile search increases, mobile search spend is following suit, albeit less dramatically. In 2014, desktop accounted for $14.30 billion of U.S. search ad spending, while mobile made up $8.72 of the total. By the end of this year, the numbers will be much closer together: $12.82 billion for desktop and $12.85 for mobile, according to March research from eMarketer.


eMarketer predicts that in two more years, desktop will be $9.12 billion of the ad spend share and mobile will be more than double that, with $21.73 billion. Getting more specific on ad spend, BIA/Kelsey estimated last month that mobile would increase 56 percent to make up $6.7 billion of local ad spend. That’s 37 percent of the total; by 2019, mobile is expected to nearly triple to $18.2 billion.

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