More than a third of consumers in Western Europe will access the Internet using their mobile phones by 2014, according to a research report published by Forrester Research on Monday.
According to the study, mobile Internet adoption is set to grow to 39 percent in Western Europe in 2014 from 13 percent in 2008.
The recession is forcing many consumers to reduce their spending, but they aren't cutting out their mobile subscriptions altogether, said Forrester analyst Thomas Husson. He said Internet-centric phones and flat-rate data plans stimulated mobile internet adoption.
By 2014, a third of Western European consumers will own Internet-enabled phones compared with 18 percent in 2009, Forrester said.
Overall, the number of individual mobile users in Western Europe is set to grow to 344 million at year-end 2014, from 334 million users by the end of this year, Forrester said.
Smart phones such as Apple's iPhone, the G1 -- Google -- phone or Samsung's Omnia range allow Internet access on the go as well as music and camera features.
In the next decade, the mobile Internet will replicate the success story of the PC-based Internet as social networks, widgets, search engines or company websites adapt for mobile presentation, Forrester said.
At the end of 2009, mobile Internet penetration will reach 17 percent in Western Europe, the same level of adoption that PCs with Internet access had in 1999, which Husson described as being a critical mass.
(Reporting by Nicola Leske; Editing by Mike Nesbit)