New data from the U.S. Government Digital Analytics Program finally provides hard numbers about web usage. Here’s a breakdown of which browsers are winning on the four most widely used desktop and mobile operating systems.
Collectively, five browsers dominate the web, accounting for 98 percent of all traffic as measured by the latest U.S. Government Digital Analytics Program. (For a discussion of where that data comes from, see the note at the end of this earlier post.)
The trouble with those aggregate numbers is they mash together visits from sites running mobile and desktop operating systems, where the choice of browsers varies greatly. That’s why I was thrilled to see that the good folks at DAP released some new crosstab options this week.
Those new data formats now make it possible to measure browser usage in detail on individual platforms
For this analysis, I used traffic from May 1, 2016 through June 17, 2016, breaking the results out across Android, iOS, Windows, and OS X. The results are eye-opening.
Two overall conclusions are worth highlighting before diving into the details.
First, desktop operating systems encourage the use of alternative browsers. As a result, somewhere between 50 and 60 percent of all PC and Mac users choose a browser other than the default option. Among mobile operating systems, however, changing defaults is nearly impossible. That explains the dominance of Google’s Chrome and Apple’s Safari.
Second, independent browsers are rapidly nearing extinction. A mere seven years ago, Mozilla’s Firefox was a force to be reckoned with. In 2016, it is being crushed by Chrome on desktop platforms and is a statistical blip on mobile devices.
If you carry an Android device, the chances are overwhelming that you use Google’s Chrome, which is the default on any device that runs Google Play services. The stock Android browser is second most popular. All other browsers together constitute only about 5 percent of traffic from Android phones and tablets.
The one surprising name in the All Other category is Amazon’s Silk browser, the default choice on Kindle Fire tablets. That browser accounts for 1.9 percent of all Android traffic, more than Opera and Opera Mini (1.6 percent) and Firefox Mobile (1.2 percent).
If you thought Chrome’s dominance on Android was overwhelming, take a look at the numbers for iOS, where Safari (including Safari’s in-app browser) accounts for more than 96 percent of all traffic from iPhones and iPads.