A few months ago, an internal conversation about how fragmented the Android OS landscape appeared to be led to some interesting discoveries. There are websites you can visit that detail statistics about the devices and browsers that are being used to access the internet on a global or even country-specific scale. Android itself has a developer dashboard that displays the OS adoption statistics based on data gleaned from their Google Play store on a global level. This information is great, but is too broad. We wanted to know how many people were using specific devices, with more detailed information that tells us which browser on which phone running which OS was being used, and we couldn’t find that data anywhere. So I decided to take a good look at the analytics data we have on the sites that we have built and see what this information looks like.

The data below are the results of taking a cross-section of data from 10 of our websites and averaging that information. These sites were very diverse in amount of traffic, each ranging in traffic from a thousand visits a month to a hundred thousand visits a month. I made sure to use a diverse set of sites in this data to cover the gamut of user-bases and prevent skewed data, intentionally choosing a variety of sites, including ones that I thought would trend to a younger, more modern audience and those that would cater to an older, more corporate audience.

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Browser Popularity

Overall, the most popular browser in use is Google Chrome, with 32.80% of all visits in Chrome in Q3 2014. Internet Explorer (IE) and Safari are the next two most popular, with IE at 26.33% and Safari at 22.59%. Firefox is surprisingly unpopular at just 8.65% of traffic. Android’s Native Browser brings up the rear with just 3.79%.

Browser Use by OS

Windows is the most popular OS at 54.60% of all traffic, followed by iOS at 18.51%, Mac at 10.62% and Android at 10.08%.

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Windows

The most popular Windows Browser is Internet Explorer at 45.11%. Chrome is a close second at 40.91%, and Firefox comes in last with 13.99%.

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IE Version

Of the iterations of IE, IE 11 takes the top spot with 41.39% of all IE traffic. IE 8 is the next most popular at 21.78% and IE 9 is close behind it at 20.46%. IE 10 is the least popular at 14.61%.

Mac

The most popular browser for Mac is Safari, with 52.05% of traffic. Chrome takes the middle spot with 35.81% and Firefox is last with 12.14%.

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iOS

The most popular browser for iOS devices is Safari, with 98.19% of traffic. Chrome accounts for 1.81% of iOS traffic.

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iOS Version

The majority of iOS device users were on the latest major point version of iOS during this time period, iOS 7. iOS 7 accounted for 91.80% of all iOS traffic. iOS 6 had 3.10%, iOS 5 had 1.50% and iOS 8 had 3.60%. iOS 8 was released September 17, a few weeks before the end of this data set’s time period. The web traffic coming from iOS devices on iOS 8 is significantly lower than Apple’s reported adoption rate of 47% as of 10/06/14.

Android

The most popular browser for Android users was Chrome, with 64.54% of traffic. Android Native Browser accounts for the remaining 35.46% of traffic.

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Android OS Version

The Android OS landscape is more fragmented than the iOS landscape, but not dramatically so. The most recent Android OS point version, 4.4, accounts for 62.23% of Android web traffic. The remaining traffic is spread across older versions of the Android OS, with 4.1 the next most popular OS, accounting for 17.66% of traffic. 4.2 has 7.66%, 4.3 has 6.03%, 4.0 has 4.51%, and 2.3.6 takes the last spot on our list, with 1.92% of traffic.

Screen Resolution

The last set of data that I looked at is the top screen resolutions of the devices used to access the websites. The following list covers about 94% of total traffic.

  • 1366 x 768 — 11.41%
  • 320 x 568 — 9.96%
  • 1920 x 1080 — 8.92%
  • 768 x 1024 — 7.63%
  • 1280 x 1024 — 6.17%
  • 1680 x 1050 — 6.16%
  • 1024 x 768 — 5.48%
  • 1280 x 800 — 5.48%
  • 320 x 480 — 5.25%
  • 1440 x 900 — 4.99%
  • 2560 x 1440 — 4.45%
  • 1600 x 900 — 4.39%
  • 360 x 640 — 4.34%
  • 1920 x 1200 — 3.40%
  • 1400 x 1050 — 3.39%
  • 720 x 1280 — 2.78%
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Conclusions

There are a few stand-out items from this data set that are surprising. The first is just how low Firefox’s usage was — just under 9% of all web traffic. I didn’t expect Firefox traffic to be significantly lower than Chrome or IE, and especially didn’t expect it to be under 10%.

Other details that are a bit of a reality-check include the amount of people that use PCs vs. Macs. A staggering 54% of people use a PC to access the internet, a fact I have a hard time grasping. Almost everyone in my world uses a Mac — my spouse, friends, parents and in-laws, coworkers, and even one grandparent — but the data says my experience is atypical.

Similarly, the number of PC users on outdated (and close to deprecated) browsers was a bit disappointing, albeit expected. It is comforting that the largest amount of traffic — 41% — was on IE 11, but the fact that the next most popular browser was 8, a browser released 5 years ago, was very sobering.

One item that was staggeringly impressive was the number of users on the most recent point version of iOS. 91% of all iOS device users were on iOS 7. An equally impressive statistic for the iOS platform was the browser use — 98% on Safari. These are remarkable statistics and are something Apple should be (and is) very proud of.

Finally, Android’s OS landscape was fragmented as expected, but not as fragmented as it appeared. 62.23% of all traffic on the latest OS version is a healthy adoption statistic, but the amount of users scattered across older OS versions in a manner similar to the older versions of IE is a bit concerning.

The data was surprisingly consistent, even between sites that have completely different audiences and user groups. Sites displayed consistent usage patterns, with more weight on one end of the spectrum or the other depending on the site, but not dramatically so.

All-in-all, the ability to gather this data and obtain this level of insight into how people are using the websites is amazing. There really isn’t a publicly available dataset (that I can find) that can provide you with data this granular, and I highly recommend taking the time to do it with your own websites. After we get a few quarters of data analysis under our belt, we’ll be able to put together trend data and begin to uncover how this landscape is shifting.

See The State of the Internet: Q4 2014 Data