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YouTube makes up nearly 40% of mobile internet traffic

Presumably, the 23-percent marked “other” is really a code-word for “porn.”

youtube logo on a phone sitting on a desk
Image: Unsplash

YouTube implemented its “mobile, mobile, mobile” strategy in 2015 and it appears to have paid off. A new report shows that nearly 40-percent of all downstream mobile internet traffic worldwide is just from mobile YouTube watching.

That’s an insane share of the total amount of mobile bandwidth used worldwide, and that’s likely without factoring in mobile viewing while connected to WiFi. Even Facebook doesn’t come close, with a paltry 8.4-percent of the total.

I can only guess at what makes up the “Others” category, although it’s likely that a large percentage of that will be explained away by mobile porn site viewing while in incognito mode.

Just look at these numbers

Image: Statista

Those mobile viewing figures are part of a trend away from traditional media consumption such as TV viewing. Nielsen’s Q3 2018 Total Audience Report shows that out of the 10.5 hours of media consumption on average for US audiences, mobile viewing went up from 21-percent to 24-percent. TV watching was surpassed by mobile viewing way back in Q3 of 2017, with the gap ever widening.

Does that mean we’re glued to our phones?

Perhaps, but it also needs to be looked at in a wider context. We’re busier than ever, so the time available to sit and watch TV is shrinking. There’s also an upward trend in two-income families since 1970, further limiting the time available to watch TV. Getting our media consumption on mobile devices just makes sense nowadays.

Interestingly, while Netflix viewing makes up 15-percent of all bandwidth worldwide, it only manages 2.4-percent of the mobile viewing totals. With content on Netflix being longer-format than YouTube or other video sites, that makes sense to me, especially considering that Netflix eats up mobile data plans pretty quickly.

About a year ago, YouTube set its sights on another growth market – TV screens. At that time, YouTube said that “more than 150 million hours of YouTube content” was streamed from TV sets daily. That figure is likely higher now, with on-demand video content eclipsing the traditional broadcast model.

What do you think? Do you use mobile data to watch large amounts of content on YouTube? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at

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