Browser Trends March 2015: Renewed Interest in Opera?

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#1

Originally published at: http://www.sitepoint.com/browser-trends-march-2015-renewed-interest-opera/
In last month’s browser trends report, US Internet Explorer 8.0 usage appeared to return to normal. Let’s check the latest figures from StatCounter

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, January to February 2015

The following table shows browser usage movements during the past month.

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#2

I'm continually surprised at the extreme differences in browser statistics from StatCounter and NetMarketShare. Understanding the primary data collection difference of page view vs unique visitor per day, do you have any comments on this?

#3

I do indeed: browser statistics are fundamentally flawed. That said, they're reasonable for spotting trends.

To compare the two:

  • NetMarketShare analyzes 40,000 websites. It makes statistical adjustments to weight for users and other factors. They have corporate sponsors - although I'm sure that wouldn't alter their findings...
  • StatCounter analyzes 3 million websites. It makes no adjustments and they are independent.

In simple terms, NMS treats every user equally. If your Granny uses IE6 to visit one site, she's treated the same as you using Chrome all day to visit two thousand sites. It's one vote for IE6, one vote for Chrome.

StatCounter looks at visits. Using the same example, Chrome would have 2,000 votes, IE6 would have 1.

So they're different. Personally, I think StatCounter is the simplest and most realistic example. It doesn't attempt to weight users but that doesn't matter - the large sample size means averages and anonomolies are reasonable.

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