iPhone 5 surpasses Samsung GS III web usage in first three weeks

October 12, 2012
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Sites all over the net have picked up the latest Chitika report indicating that after only three-weeks on the market, the iPhone 5 accounts for significantly more web traffic than the Samsung Galaxy S III, a phone that has been out for several months. The mobile advertiser found the iPhone 5 accounts for 56% of the web traffic volume vs. just 44% for the Galaxy S III.

“The Galaxy S III has been available in the U.S. for nearly four months, and posted impressive sales figures… However, only 18 days since the public release of the iPhone 5, the newest Apple device has overtaken the Galaxy S III in terms of Web traffic volume.”

Different publications are spinning this data in various ways, with some questioning the integrity of the data (just as they did with my report). Kevin C. Tofel with GigaOM writes:

“…where Chitika sees the data as a bad sign for Samsung, I’d counter that to a degree, it’s actually not so bad. Why? Because this is the first time I can remember seeing a single Android handset model being even close to competitive to Apple’s iPhone in any statistical research.”

That’s true. Typically when we look at the Android slice of the mobile pie, we find a jumble of devices with none standing out – the fragmentation is dramatic when made visible:

One thing the data from Chitika doesn’t show is what portion of the overall mobile pie the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S III represent. That’s a number I’d like to know. For our part, we’re not seeing anything near a stand-out for the Galaxy S III in any of our data. While iPhone (all models) represents a whopping 40% and iPad is up to 11%, we don’t see the Galaxy S III showing up as anything other than noise (less than 1% of mobile devices). We have confidence that we have a decent representative sample of the mobile landscape at our disposal, so this is one number that has been an anomaly for us. If the Galaxy S III was out there and being used, we’re certain we’d see it. But we don’t. Samsung is the biggest standout in the Android segment, but that’s across many phones. More reason for me to call BS on the “Samsung is beating Apple” meme. It doesn’t make sense that people with Galaxy S III would for some reason steer away from our properties while all other Android devices appear.

Tofel also writes:

“I asked Chitika for additional data on the top mobile sites that both phone groups were browsing. I’m curious if some of them are simply more popular and geared towards one platform or the other that could be adding weight to either phone.”

More questioning of the data because it doesn’t say what you want it to say. My theory is that this is a bit of a vicious circle for Android. Apple dominates, so web sites focus first on making sure the site works well on iOS devices. Non-iOS devices, including Android, are not tested or optimized for as much, so the experience on those devices is worse, so users of those devices use the site(s) less, and in turn, the site operators spend less energy worrying about those devices, repeat… This is the practical issue I have tried to explain before and something that often doesn’t occur to buyers when looking just at spec.-sheets to choose a device.

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