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Which devices dominated the mobile web in 2012?

One of the most common questions for businesses implementing a mobile strategy for the first time is: What mobile devices are customers using to browse and buy online?

To answer this question, we gathered data from 20 major Mobify-powered mobile websites. In 2012, these websites were viewed by a combined total of 560,792,165 people — roughly 8% of the world’s population — who collectively browsed over 3 billion web pages.

A data sample of this size gave us tremendous insight into the mobile web in 2012, including a comprehensive list of devices people used for browsing and shopping.

We’ve isolated the top 20 devices that accessed these 20 mobile websites and broken them down into their percentage of unique views. Check out the results below.

It is important to note that Android will be underrepresented in this data because no single Android device sells in numbers comparable to the iPhone. A follow up article will be published shortly that will break down traffic by OS (rather than device).

Breaking Down the Data

Data is aggregated from the top 20 devices (by unique views) visiting 20 major, Mobify-powered sites. Beyond the 5th device out of the top 20, no device made up more than 1% of total traffic.

From the chart above, you can see that iPhone, iPad and iPod users accounted for a whopping 85% of unique views among the top 20 devices, compared to 15% of devices from other manufacturers.

While the amount of traffic represented by Apple devices is certainly high, it doesn’t come as a surprise. According to mobile market research firm Asymco:

Besides the pattern of significant mobile [traffic] growth (from 5.2% to 24% of online in two years) there is the curious effect of iOS growth outpacing Android growth. Android went from 1.43% of Black Friday shopping traffic [including desktop browsers] in 2010 to 4.92% in 2012. In the same time iOS went from 3.85% to 18.46%. This means that iOS makes up almost 5 times as much traffic as Android.

What does this mean for your mobile strategy?

The numbers show that in 2012, no single Android device represented traffic in numbers comparable to Apple products.

Focus on optimizing your mobile site for iPhone and iPad to give your customers the best possible experience. They’ll thank you with their wallets!

Want to see which countries use Apple devices the most in their mobile commerce? Check out our infographic on Global Mobile Commerce.

Top 10 Devices (by unique views)
  1. iPhone - 61.6%
  2. iPad - 17.1%
  3. Unknown - 8.6%
  4. Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc - 4.7%
  5. iPod Touch - 4.6%
  6. Samsung Galaxy S II - 0.9%
  7. Motorola Droid X - 0.9%
  8. HTC Incredible - 0.5%
  9. HTC Incredible 2 - 0.5%
  10. Samsung Galaxy Nexus - 0.1%

Edit: It has been pointed out that up until October 15, 2012, Google Analytics has a bug that reported the user agents for the Galaxy S2/S3/Note, Razr 4g, and MyTouch as the Xperia Arc. This bug only affects the Top 10 Devices list above — it does not affect the Android / iOS breakdown. If Google had reported the UA's properly, we believe the Galaxy S3 would replace the Xperia Arc and the percentage of unknown devices would decrease. An in-depth look of the bug is available at here.

As you can see, between October 15 and 16 visits from the Xperia Arc and unidentified Android handsets dropped dramatically, while visits from the Galaxy S2/S3/Note, Razr 4g, and MyTouch increase.

Hope that article was useful for you!

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