Despite Android web traffic increasing, Apple devices generate more web traffic

by: Andrew GrushMay 2, 2013

Android vs iOS

Not long ago, the most common way to hop aboard the information super highway was through the PC. As mobile devices continue to outpace the PC market, that just isn’t true anymore.

So what mobile platform generates the biggest share of web traffic? Considering Android’s global dominance in the smartphone market and growing strength in the tablet space, you’d think it would be Google’s mobile OS, but you’d be wrong.

In February, 40% of traffic generated by mobile devices came from iOS, with 24.5% coming from Android.

Was this a one-month fluke? Apparently not, as the latest update from NetApplications shows that Android now generates 26% of the traffic. This is actually a 35% increase when compared to the same timeframe last year, but still significantly under Apple’s 59% share of web traffic.


These numbers seem a bit fishy. If Android has more users, it stands to reason they’d use the web more than iOS owners. So where’s the disconnect?

NetApplications represents 40,000 websites, which is a decent sampling but it by no means makes up the entire web. One possible explanation is that the sites targeted by NetApplications are more popular with iOS users than Android users.

Another possibility is that Android owners simply use their devices differently than Apple device owners. Personally, I use my Android handset all the time at home for a few key apps such as calculator, my weather app, etc. I rarely use the browser unless I’m on the go. It could be that iDevice owners are using their iPhones and iPads at home more often than Android users, which could certainly account for a big difference in web share. Of course that’s just speculation on my part.

We can’t say for sure why there is a big difference between Android and iOS when it comes to web browsing, but honestly, does it really matter? Even if Android users aren’t on the web as often, it doesn’t mean we aren’t perfectly happy with our Android handsets and tablets.

What do you think of NetApplications web usage stats, any ideas for why web traffic varies so much between the two platforms? Does it surprise you that iOS users are using the web more frequently than us Android users?

  • Aj178

    I believe the reason is that there is big percentage of cheap android devices that their owners dont cate about browsing the internet or it might be a very bad browsing experience

    • WestIndiesKING

      exactly my thoughts. I am surprised the author of the article didnt put that. Its the one thing that makes the most sense. I’ll bet if you look at the number of high end android devices as oppose to all android devices, the number difference between that and iDevices wouldnt be soo different.

  • Bruce Gavin Ward

    since the applePhones cost considerably more [for somewhat lesser specs] than most androidDevices, and always have, you would expect two things; apple users are a well $heeled$ lot,spend money less thoughtfully/carefully, so do more data intensive surfing. and since the iPhones have been popular longer, be it merited or not, hence the users are more ‘practiced’ and have a stronger onLine inclination. [as Android supremacy increases, the trend will reverse]

  • HowNowBrownCow

    Apple is the most profitable company on the planet with spectacular margins. Looked at from another angle, it manages to fleece its customers at a higher premium than any other company manages to do, while Android vendors sell their offerings to customers at something much closer to cost.

    What this telegraphs is that Apple customers tend to have a lot more disposable income to spend on frivolities and luxuries like expensive data plans.

    • kascollet

      That’s quite right but don’t forget high-end Android buyers have the same profile. Top phones and tablets from HTC/Samsung/LG/Sony imply the same margins and price as Apple’s.
      The difference is in the low-end tier wher those devices are not as Internet-capable, thus the statistics misbalance.

  • i guess this probably has something to do with availability of streamed content, which is not that widely available for Android.. especially in EU.

  • disk Latvia

    Ha love how windows phone isn’t even on the graph also what’s Java ME it has a decent share

    • Eric Fox Fraschilla

      I’m a win7 so this may be a bit off; yet are we not trying to use our browsers offline as much as posible?