Safari has maintained a lead in the mobile browser market for since the early days of iPhone because before that, browsing the Web on a phone was a terrible experience. Apple showed everyone how to do it and companies competing with iOS devices come in second and third.
The Android Browser has a 21.86 percent share, and Opera Mini has an 8.4 percent share. Interesting to note, Opera Mini was the first alternative browser allowed to enter the iTunes App Store for iPhone.
While Safari is always in the lead, the percentage of people using iOS devices fluctuates. Last month, Safari’s mobile market share was 55.41 percent, and in March of last year it was 60.5 percent.
It’s a completely different world in the desktop browser space. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer dominates with a 55.83 percent market share. Safari is only at 5.31 percent on desktops. Firefox is number two on desktops with a 20.2 percent share of desktop browsers.
NetMarketShare is one of two companies that measure browser usage. StatCounter is another and it has a different methodology for measurement. StatCounter shows Android in first place on mobiles with a 30.78 percent market share.
If you start to dig deeper, it’s entirely possible that both companies could have inaccurate numbers because they depend on people using software that each has access to in order to get samples. NetMarketShare gets data from 40,000 websites using Net Applications, and StatCounter gets samples from customers who use its StatCounter traffic analysis service.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols breaks down the different methodologies on ZDNet.
Given customer loyalty, it’s probable that Apple fans will believe the NetMarketShare data, and Android fans will believe the StatCounter data, but there is a way to trust both sets of numbers.
NetMarketShare measures how many people are using each browser, and StatCounter is tracking how often a browser is being used. More people use the Safari browser on mobile, but the Android browser is used more heavily by fewer people.