Study shows Android users spend larger percentage of time browsing than their iOS counterparts

May 29, 2013
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ios vs android

Are you reading this on your smartphone? If so, you’ve got about 14 minutes to finish up.

A new study by Simmons Connect finds that smartphone users spend about 14 minutes a day looking at websites. They also compared Android to iOS users, and found some interesting statistics which may cast doubt on previous claims of iOS usage over Android. Interestingly enough, this all comes to light the day after Tim Cook noted (again) that iOS users spend more time visiting websites than their Android counterpart.

Android users spend about 49 minutes on their mobile device daily, whereas iOS users spend a whopping 75 minutes a day squinting at their screens. That averages out to about an hour, which is a good median number for comparison. We’ll keep in mind, though, that percentage of use versus overall time will have an integral part of the discussion.

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The stats

Of the time spent using our smartphones, some interesting similarities come to light, as well as some discrepancies. For instance, Android users spend more time talking, 28% compared to 22% for iOS users. Those iOS fans spend a bit more time texting, 22% compared to 16% for Android. We spend the same amount of time on social media (16%), and roughly the same time on email (10% for iOS, 8% for Android).

The most interesting statistic is that iOS users spend 12% of their time visiting websites, while Android users devote 16% on the same task. Just yesterday, at the D11 conference, Cook noted that 59% of web traffic comes from iOS devices. While that encomapsses both tablets and smartphones, it seems disproportionate to these numbers.

However, if we break the numbers out of their average, that’s a fair claim. When compared on time spent on the device versus percentage spent visitng websites, iOS users comprise about 54% of overall web traffic (9 minutes compared to 7.84 minutes). When factoring in the iPad, which has the lion’s share of the tablet market, that claim becomes more approachable.

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Issues

Let’s focus on those internet numbers once again. The iOS user spends about 50% more time on their iPhone, yet represents only an extra minute visiting websites. They also text quite a bit more, and when factoring in the extra time spent on the device, that becomes a consumptive issue.

This also forces us to consider fragmentation. It’s fair to bulk Android users together, but it gets a bit convoluted when we consider which device and iteration of the OS is being used. Some older Android versions simply don’t do browsing efficiently, or the service plans don’t allow for it as a means to consider that function viable.

We’re also considering the device and operating system used, not the browser. If we compare browser statistics, Chrome is a clear winner over Safari, with some studies noting the discrepancy as much as 10-to-1 in favor of Chrome. Chrome is available on any platform, so if an iOS user were using Chrome, it’s still a tip of the hat towards Google.

Heart of the matter

Statistics are fun, but time spent on the device is the most confusing statistic. While an hour isn’t much time, the overall use discrepancy is troubling. Our iOS friends spend an extra half hour on their phones, which is concerning. In that extra minute visiting websites, I’d think they’d be searching for cool things to do. Field Trip tells me what’s going on. So does Google Now. I really don’t have to look at my device at all, it just keeps me informed. It’s as though Android just suits users better, and gets out of the way so we can enjoy life.

Oh… Now I get it.

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