The use of mobile devices to access the internet has increased by 67% worldwide over the last 12 months according to StatCounter, the independent website analytics company.

The report from the company’s research arm, StatCounter Global Stats, finds that while desktop remains the most popular means to access the web on 64.6%, mobile has grown rapidly from 17.1% to 28.5% worldwide. Tablet devices account for 6.8% of internet usage, compared to 4.8% 12 months ago.

StatCounter announced the findings to mark the launch of its new web analytics Apps for iOS and Android. These Apps, which are free to download and use, are available from iTunes or Google Play.

In Ireland internet access by mobile has reached almost a quarter and is up 59% on a year ago. Desktop access is 63.5%, mobile 24.4% and tablet 11.7%.

Mobile usage has already overtaken desktop in several countries including India, South Africa and Saudi Arabia,” commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO, StatCounter. “All indications are that this trend is set to continue, which creates new challenges and opportunities for businesses globally.”

He noted that just three years ago desktop was the number one platform across all countries.

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Mobile internet usage in the US has grown by 73% over the last 12 months to reach 24.4% in August.

Cullen added that mobile internet usage is increasing faster than tablet usage. “The slower growth of tablets may be due to the trend towards larger screen smartphones. It will be interesting to see whether Apple’s new larger iPhone 6 Plus becomes a tablet killer.”