Surprising Desktop vs Mobile Internet Usage Growth in Cambodia

Surprising Desktop vs Mobile Internet Usage Growth in Cambodia (last 10 years)

All over the world, something historic happened back in November 2016 related to the way people are connecting to the Internet: according to StatCounter website, one of the leading web analytics software, for the first time in history, mobile and computer connections shared an equal 50% market share:


wordlwide desktop vs mobile connections from 2010 to 2020


According to this 10 years statistics graph, until that date, most internet connections were made by computers, desktop or laptops (blue line), and their market share was declining steadily for the benefit of mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones (green line). Year after year, mobile internet usage was increasing constantly at a regular and sustained pace, especially since 2014.

And then, in late 2016, smartphones took over the majority of internet connections and computer usage start declining in most countries. For about 2 years, until late 2018, when it stabilized for a while in equal shares of about 50-50 for each category and then mobiles got the majority of internet connections again at about 55% as of today.

A quite similar trend is observed all over Asia (with the exception of few countries, like Vietnam, where mobile connections always remained below 50%) with the difference that smartphone connections reached the 50% threshold about a year earlier (June 2015) and became even more important since then as they seem to be stabilizing today around 63% for mobiles and 37% for computers as of January 2020:


asia internet market share January 2020


Asia desktop vs mobile connections from 2010 to 2020


Why Cambodia is different

But in Cambodia, not only the 50/50 share between desktop and mobile connections occurred much earlier than in the rest of the world and in Asia, by reaching this point already in September 2014 (instead of November 2016 in the world and June 2015 in Asia), but this trend didn’t last very long and completely reversed in June 2017 with computer connections taking back the advantage and, after a small drop in February 2018, continuing growing until today (January 2020) by reaching the same percentage in internet market share that they had about 7 years ago in 2013!


desktop vs mobile market share in Cambodia in January 2020


cambodia internet from 2010 to 2020


Somehow similar trends are observed in Cambodia’s two main neighbouring countries Vietnam and Thailand but certainly not as significant.

In Thailand, mobile connections reached 50% market share in May 2015 but only gained a more significant share on November 2016 and then declined again to currently stabilize at around 45%


thailand internet from 2010 to 2020

while in Vietnam desktop connections have always been dominant and the only time mobiles got close to 50% was on February 2017 when they peaked at a maximum of 45% back then.


vietnam internet from 2010 to 2020


All three countries have now higher market share with desktop connections but the trend in Cambodia during the last 10 years is the most significant because it clearly shows how the initial rush on mobile screens lasted only about 2-3 years before reverting back to more conventional connections, by the usage of desktops and laptops.

As, most of the time, mobile connections are associated with social media and computer connections mostly with websites, this trend over the past 10 years highlights what we can see in everyday online activities when observing website connection statistics in Cambodia:

  • Social media are not anymore the main, and often unique, internet “window to the world” as it used to be the case when smartphones became progressively accessible to the masses (2015 – 2017) and allowed many Khmer users to discover the internet for the first time through friends’ newsfeeds and by using the limited search options available in there.
  • Websites are gaining back the role they always had for being the main reference for businesses, corporate institutions and personal blogs while web-based search engines are gaining back their initial role for helping users find exactly the products and services they need by allowing more precise search results.
  • Computers are the main devices used for connecting to the internet in 2020 because they became more affordable over the years and so did WIFI connectivity, especially in main cities. We all use smartphones every day but when it comes to business and work activities we prefer using our computers.

Cambodia has currently an internet market share of over 70% for connections made from desktop computers and less than 30% from mobile devices – and this is almost the exact opposite of current worldwide statistics! 

This trend is confirmed by our own site’s connection stats as well by the latest Digital 2020 report for Cambodia by Datareportal and shows very positive perspectives for business websites because it means that the internet is increasingly used for business purposes in Cambodia and main cities like Phnom Penh in particular.

Source for all data:

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