Blog Post

Web traffic: iPhone 5 wins but Galaxy S III holds its own

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

Just a few weeks after the iPhone 5(s aapl) launched, it’s already pulling it more web traffic than Samsung’s Galaxy S III smartphone according to one specific measure. Mobile advertiser Chitika shared data on Friday showing that in a review of web traffic on sites that use Chitika’s ad network, the iPhone 5 accounts for 56 percent of the total web traffic volume compared to 44 percent from the Galaxy S III; a phone that launched five months ago.

In a blog post sharing the data, Chitika suggests that businesses targeting mobile users should still favor iOS due to iPhone owners browsing more than their Galaxy S III counterparts. What explains the different in web traffic between the two devices? “Record-breaking sales numbers, along with new 4G browsing speeds which encourage data usage, are the most likely explanation for this tremendous growth,” says Chitika. I’m not sold on the 4G LTE support as a huge influence here though: Samsung’s Galaxy S III launched with LTE support in U.S. markets, just as the new iPhone 5 did.

Normally, these types of web usage studies show iPhones exceeding that of Android devices, so I’m not questioning the data. In fact, 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. Android(s goog) as a whole exceeds iPhone sales but Apple fans are quick to point out that no single phone can compete. At least one does now.

Regardless of whether you see the glass half full or half empty, 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.

Chitika couldn’t provide the specifics due to contractual agreements with advertisers but said:

[B]e assured that our network is composed of hundreds of thousands of publishers within the United States across a diverse set of verticals.  As such, our network studies are a representative sample of U.S. Internet behavior.

6 Responses to “Web traffic: iPhone 5 wins but Galaxy S III holds its own”

  1. duncanriley

    Two problems with this data
    1. as Milindrao points out, the data is gathered using user agent. As an S3 user myself I override the user agent so I get the full web experience vs mobile browsing (and with 4.8″ of goodness, you’d understand why.
    2. Chitika primarily serves US traffic and as far as I’m aware does not do a lot on non-English advertising. These figures may be representative of the US market, but they certainly are not of the global market.

  2. Kindroid

    More Apple straw man argument…FUD. Our one phone does more than any ONE of your phones. The real indicator should be iOS vs Android. Everyone of those Android phones is available for participation in the web volume.

  3. Molan James

    The iPhone’s resolution being lower than HD means that video players need to perform some downscaling when playing HD movies.The GS3 screen settings offers a choice of 4 options (dynamic, standard, natural and video) that efficiently tame the “oversaturated” effect.One of the most interesting features in new Galaxy S III is the ability to create your own custom vibration notification.Check this tutorial

  4. milindrao

    There are a few questions that come to mind.

    1. They are attempting to determine the phone being used based on the user agent. Different browsers use different user agents. I use Chrome most of the time and Firefox occasionally. The Chrome user agent sends Mozilla, the phone model (not Galaxy S3), web kit and safari in the text. Firefox sends only mozilla with no phone identification. Is this a US only check? In which case, they would have a limited number of models that they can track, which is do-able. If it’s a world wide usage statistic of US web sites, then have they really accounted for all the models of the Galaxy S3 sold worldwide?

    2. I have rooted my phone and disabled ads. So I’m never counted. But rooted users are a small minority, so that’s fine. But if they are measuring ad clicks through a browser (as opposed to through apps), there are browser plugins that disable ads without being rooted. Adblock is always amongst the top three plugins on desktop firefox so mainstream users are aware of it and may likely have use an adblocker in the browser even if they are not savvy enough or care enough to root their phones. I’d also wager that in general, Android users are more tech savvy and will probably be more likely to have an adblocker in their browser than iPhone users (if Safari even allows that in the first place)

    3. I read a study recently that there are more ad clicks on mobile devices rather than on the desktop and they attributed it to inadvertent clicks due to the smaller screen size. Makes sense. And would also make sense why the Galaxy Nexus with the bigger screen would have fewer people clicking on ads.

    4. Android users are just generally smarter and know better than to click on ads :-) :-)

    • Peter Deep

      My question is that the company is saying 100% of the “total web traffic volume” is from two specific phone models. What are all the other phones doing? Or am I misunderstanding the language?

      Milindao said, “Android users are just generally smarter and know better than to click on ads :-) :-)”

      I know several Android users that are pretty stupid. Oh, wait, adding this at the end is supposed to make the insult better or seem like a joke: :-) :-)