Updated: Mobile web usage on iOS devices is 12 times that of Android

Sep 4, 2010 § 4 Comments

It’s been exactly three years since I blogged. I saw a few tweets this morning about Android taking market share away from iOS on mobile web and thought I’ll quickly share my two cents.

There’s been a lot of conversation lately about Android vs. iOS adoption. Lots of numbers floating around too: Eric Schmidt’s 200,000 android activations a day in August, Steve Jobs’ 230,000 iOS activations a day at the recent apple event and monthly reports from various ad networks and analytics companies. This can be heck a lot confusing for mobile app developers and consumers.

Media measurement and Web analytics company Quantcast has put up a teaser blog post yesterday concluding Android is storming ahead, now taking up a 25 percent share of total mobile Web consumption in the US. I tweeted Quantcast this morning to know what their measurement methodology was. According to Net Applications, Apple’s iOS has become the third most popular platform (after Windows and Mac, bigger than Linux) on the Internet with market share that’s nearly six times larger than Android
Android devices are selling hot, I agree, although user satisfaction and loyalty isn’t that great. However, I don’t think apps usage on Android devices comes any close to iOS devices. Analytics firms like Quantcast base their reports on analysis of visitors to the websites they track. This may not present a complete picture of mobile web usage. iOS users spend a lot of time engaging with apps and most of their web consumption happens through the apps and not from the mobile browser. Any report that doesn’t analyze apps usage is only presenting half baked information.

Here is the real picture. Let’s take a look at the monthly active user stats for Facebook apps on the top 4 mobile platforms:
Facebook for iPhone : 45 M
Facebook for Blackberry : 21 M
Facebook for Android : 3.7 M
Facebook for Palm WebOS : 0.7 M

Facebook is perhaps the most popular app across smartphones (2nd on Android after Google Maps) after the native phone dialer, phone book and email apps which typically ship with the devices. If we consider Facebook app usage on these platforms as a reasonable indicator, mobile web usage on iOS devices is 12 times that of Android at the moment.

Update: Quantcast got back to me this morning. They’ve just put up a blog post on their measurement methodology. I replied to their tweet and also commented on their blog post. They’ve not yet approved my comment!

Here is my take: I am OK with them not including traffic from iPads for the study. However, the key issues I have are: 1. They don’t cover apps usage (which is a significant part of mobile web usage) 2. Quantcast doesn’t directly measure the traffic to top Internet sites – which is a significant chunk of mobile web traffic (mobile web traffic is more top heavy than the desktop web traffic!). Therefore, I believe the picture presented by their report is inaccurate!


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