Anyone who has ever built apps for mobile devices or websites for mobile and desktop devices wonders: Can I possibly build this once for everyone, or do I have to build multiple versions for multiple audiences?

That is, of course, the promise of responsive web design — one design to rule them all, and in the end bind them.

Perhaps not the “bind them” part, I suppose, but with 21 percent of web traffic to major e-commerce sites coming from mobile, and the number of unique screen resolutions rising from a large-enough 97 in 2010 to a massive 232 in 2013, responsive web design is pretty much the only answer if you want to increase the number of shoppers at your store, says Monetate.

The marketing and web optimization company, which helps customers like Best Buy, QVC, National Geographic, and more improve their sales online, says that while responsive design is not cheap, it is where consumers’ dollars are flowing. While we’ll spend $38.8 billion on our smartphones and tablets in 2013, that’s rising to $108.6 billion in 2017.

And while customers aren’t likely to download your app just to consummate a purchase now and then, they will want to use your website.

Here’s all the data, in visual form:


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