Ecommerce Study Finds Mobile Safari To Be Fastest Growing Web Browser

Much of the time when you talk about browser market share, it’s in the context of IE vs. Chrome vs. all the rest. But new data released from e-commerce technology company Monetate today has thrown the mobile version of Safari into the mix. The result? The firm found Mobile Safari to be the most rapidly growing web browser over the past year on its sites, going from 5.84% in Q1 2011 to 11.12% in Q1 2012. That’s not to say it’s the top browser – Internet Explorer still holds that crown – but its impact is being felt.

First, a disclosure on the data. Like most of the outlets that provide browser tracking statistics (e.g. StatCounter, Net Applications, etc.), we’re being given one window into browser trends, not a complete picture. The market share data in this case is aggregated from 100+ top e-commerce sties, which are Monetate customers. While Monetate doesn’t disclose which exact sites it used in its analysis, its current customer lineup includes QVC, Urban Outfitters, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Best Buy and Brooks Brothers, to name a few.

Monetate doesn’t use toolbars or consumer surveys, but pulls the data directly from the agent data passed to the web server from the brands’ websites themselves. In other words, while it may be a small section of the web, it’s one that makes sense to examine in terms of general consumer trends related to browser use.

There are some big differences when you slice the data through a source like StatCounter or Monetate. And analyzing them doesn’t make for an apples to apples comparison. StatCounter doesn’t monitor mobile Safari at all, so the way it sees browser market share is different. Below, Monetate’s data is from January through March 2012 and StatCounter’s is for May 2012, but was collected before the month ended.

For what it’s worth:

StatCounter found IE’s global market share to be 32.42% and Monetate saw its usage on e-commerce sites at 42.35%. StatCounter found Chrome’s market share to be 32.28%, and on Monetate’s sites it was just 14.42%. Firefox had 25.39% market share  on StatCounter, but just 15.46% on Monetate. And StatCounter found Safari’s market share to be 7.14%, but Monetate saw it higher at 16.33%. Finally, while StatCounter didn’t track mobile Safari usage, Monetate found it had reached 11.12%.

The numbers from Monetate, while only a single source of data are even more striking when placed in context with the larger trends in this space, like those detailed by KPCB analyst Mary Meeker this week.

A couple of slides from Meeker’s presentation are below.