Wednesday, March 2

Mobile market share 2011 – really?

Fascinating overview of mobile operating system market share - but is it real?
Those nice folks at icrossing have updated their infographic summarising mobile operating systems all over the world.Mobile-OS-Market-Share-2012
It is a great visual image. I use it often. BUT BEWARE … it is easy to read too much into it. The same old problems with mobile stats apply here.

The stats this is based on all come from one source – statcounter. And statcounter does exactly what it says on the tin. They offer analytics services to millions of websites. If you use their services to track your site, your visitors contribute to these stats. (but if you don’t, they don’t!)
If you want to dip into the statcounter mobile stats yourself, they are free to access, and very interesting.
But it does mean that these stats are NOT a real assessment of who is buying which phone. Nor is it an assessment of which mobile devices are dominating in each market. Nor is it a real assessment of which phones are using mobile data all over the world. Instead, it is a measure of the percentage of hits on statcounter-tracked sites made by each type of phone.
So – to use an extreme case: If the only African website that happened to use statcounter was an Android developer site, it would show Africa as almost 100% Android when in actual fact the dominant phone in the entire continent is Nokia!
Further exceptions:
  • statcounter doesn’t track WAP sites, yet most of the huge rise in mobile banking and mobile data use in Africa and India is driven by this technology.
  • most of the tracked sites are designed for big screens, which skews the mobile users towards those using powerful (smart)phones, in countries with fast, cheap wireless data.
Stats are great – but you need to be sure you are asking the right questions of them
(I am by no means belittling either statcounter or icrossing here. Statcounter are very clear about what their data is based on, and icrossing are clear about their source. It is just healthy to understand what the stats are really saying)

2 comments:

maddy said...

Very informative post..thanks for sharing such a excellent information here..

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