According to a Google survey, 61% of people polled agreed with the statement, "If I don't see what I'm looking for right away on a mobile site, I'll quickly move on to another site." That huge percentage is a devastating slice of a website's traffic, huge numbers of users who not only will leave the website without purchasing anything or using any services, but also will probably never return. Potential customers can be lost forever simply because the website was not optimized for mobile.
On the opposite side of that experience, 67% of the respondents to the Google survey agreed with the statement, "A mobile-friendly site make me more likely to buy a product or use a service." Customers browsing from a smartphone are concerned with immediacy and ease of use above all; a well-optimized website will give them a smooth user experience and propel them through to their purchase.
Well-optimized websites are also crucial for developing the holy grail of returning customers. Just as a poor website will lose customers forever, a good website will keep them coming back. 74% of the people surveyed said that a well-optimized mobile site makes them more likely to return in the future.
Although currently smartphones are the biggest device for mobile browsing, tablet computers are catching up fast. Tablet computers are also booming in popularity, and may replace PCs as most people's primary computer. Although tablet computers are in some cases faster and more powerful than smartphones, they generally use the same (or very similar) operating systems, and the experience of using a tablet is very much like using an oversized smartphone. And currently, the browsing speed of a tablet in nowhere close to that of a PC. As a consequence, tablet users will also use and expect a mobile-friendly website, and as the share of customers browsing from PCs continues to shrink, mobile websites are transitioning from a supplementary service to the primary storefront.
Despite the booming demand for mobile-friendly websites, un-optimized design is still prevalent, with 96% of users saying they have found websites that were "clearly not designed for mobile devices." This huge oversight among a plurality of businesses means that those companies that act right away to optimize their websites for mobile use have a terrific opportunity and advantage in securing customers by offering a better service. Offering a well-optimized website is about more than helping people buy a product, it also tells the customers that they are important to the company. Approximately half of users are "frustrated and annoyed" when browsing a website that is not optimized for mobile browsing, and that, "a bad mobile experience made them less likely to engage with a company." Equally problematic is that that same percentage of users said that "if a site didn't work on their smartphones, it made them feel like that company didn't care about their business."
Given the strong negative reactions users have against poor mobile browsing experiences, and the huge opportunity for companies to set themselves apart with good website design, optimizing a website for mobile browsing is essential. Bad design will drive customers away and into the arms of the competition, but good design will keep them coming back, improve the companies reputation, and build brand loyalty. And with smartphone and tablet users increasing every day, mobile browsing will only become more important.