Due to the pandemic, mobile’s share of global ad spending reached 51% by the end of the first quarter.

That’s according to the programmatic ad specialists at PubMatic, which based their findings on an analysis of trillions of bids during the period.

“Coronavirus has shifted consumer behavior towards mobile,” according to Paulina Klimenko, senior vice president of corporate development and general manager of mobile at PubMatic.

In some respects, the success of mobile has been relative. Across publisher sites, for example, mobile impression volume was actually flat, while desktop volume declined.

What’s more, mobile ad spending declined 15% during the period, while desktop ad spending declined by 25%.

As their businesses have been impacted by the health crisis, advertisers have also been less willing to spend on expensive units like video.

In fact, mobile video ad spending declined 27%, during the period, while display fell by a more modest 12%.

For its part, in-app viewership has truly surged as consumers (many without work) have sought out ways to occupy their time.

To varying degrees, Klimenko expects many of these shifts to remain in place for years to come.

“While recent surges in viewership will likely recede through the summer and as stay-at-home orders ease, the preference for mobile will remain, which will drive advertisers to mobile over the long term,” she said.

A growing body of research is painting mobile as a relative winner of the health crisis.

During the week ending May 9, for example, Pepperjam found that 35% of affiliate ad revenue could be attributed to a mobile device, while mobile affiliate revenue growth was up 31%, year-over-year.

Through the second quarter, eMarketer still expects mobile ad spend to shrink by about 6%, and 10% year-over-year.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the research firm expected U.S. mobile ad spend to grow by 20.7% to $105.34 billion this year.

Written by Gavin O’Malley, originally published in MediaPost