Mobiles and tablets now account for majority of GOV.UK traffic

Written by Sam Trendall on 22 January 2019 in News
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Report from the Institute for Government shows shift in how citizens access government website

Smartphones and tablets now account for more than half of GOV.UK’s traffic, a report from the Institute for Government has revealed.

Analysis from the IfG finds that, as of November 2018, desktop and laptop PCs accounted for 48% of all traffic to GOV.UK. Some 43% of visits came from phones, with 9% from tablet devices.

Over the last five years, traffic from mobiles has grown steadily while use of desktops has declined in correlation. In June 2013, about three in four of all visits to GOV.UK – 73% – came from PCs, with mobiles contributing about 18%.

Use of tablets has remained comparatively steady during the last five years, but is now in decline, according to the 2019 edition of the IfG’s annual Whitehall Monitor report, which was published today.


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“[The] growing use of mobiles partly reflects changing patterns in how people access the internet. But it also indicates the changing nature of GOV.UK,” the report said. “As the platform has progressed from simply providing static information to offering services, it has created new demand. Widening access to individuals who may own a smartphone but do not have regular access to a computer fits with GDS’s commitment to make it ‘much easier to do important things’.”

Some of the government’s busiest sites are among those with the highest volume of mobile traffic. The Department for Work and Pensions – which has the second most hits of all departments, behind only HM Revenue and Customs – is the only site where more that 50% of hits come from mobiles.

“This may reflect a successful widening of access to users who do not have a computer,” the IfG said. “It may also show that people prefer or need to access the information and services offered by DWP while out and about.”

With more than eight million page views per week, the DWP is a long way ahead of the next busiest sites – the Department for Transport, and the Department for Education, both of which generate about two million page views each week.

But way out in front is HMRC, with average weekly page views in excess of 12 million. The tax agency’s site is “the big exception to the trend for busier sites to have a greater share of traffic from mobiles”, the IfG said, with “the large majority of traffic” coming from PCs.



Keep an eye on PublicTechnology for an in-depth report on the findings of the IfG report which this year features a dedicated section on digital government

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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