Data Insights

The Mixpanel mobile study: What over 3 billion data points taught us about Americans’ mobile behavior

Jordan Carr

We looked at data from millions of users across Mixpanel’s 20,000-plus customers to study the state of mobile in the first half of 2018. In the United States alone, our study involved over 3 billion events. We pulled data on the leading operating systems, mobile browsers and cellular carriers Americans and people across the globe are using. These are some key findings from our data, broken out nationally and state-by-state (you can read more in TechCrunch and 9to5 Mac).

In the coming weeks, we’ll publish results looking at these categories on the level of US’s ten largest cities, and on a global scale. For now, here’s what we learned about how Americans were using their phones in the first half of 2018.

Facebook is a major mobile browser

Nationally, Facebook accounts for 7.63% of mobile browser traffic, placing it comfortably in third place behind Chrome and Safari. The top five states by percentage of users on Facebook are:

  1. Washington – 13.74%
  2. Rhode Island – 13.14%
  3. Montana – 12.64%
  4. Indiana – 11.93%
  5. Minnesota – 11.81%

Additionally, states such as North Carolina, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Texas are among the 12 in which Facebook has over 10% market share.

Safari is the mobile browsing champ by far, but it’s riding some pretty strong tailwinds

Nationally, Safari accounts for 58.39% of mobile traffic, though that does trail iOS’s 65.54% market share. The vast majority of this gap is accounted for by the existence of a third competitor (Facebook) in the mobile browser market, while the operating system competition comes down to Android v. iOS. Looking only at Safari and Chrome implies that there are slightly more users on iOS who use Chrome than users on Android who use Safari.

The five states with the largest percentage of users on Safari are:

  1. Utah – 67.16%
  2. Vermont – 66.90%
  3. Iowa – 66.38%
  4. Kansas = 64.50%
  5. Oklahoma – 64.22%

States such as Virginia, Texas, and California are among the 15 states in which Safari has over 60% market share.

Chrome is a strong second in the mobile browsing

Chrome accounts for 33.30% of mobile traffic. In 49 of 50 states (and D.C.), it came in second behind Safari. The national results tracks pretty closely with the state-by-state outcomes.

The five states with the largest percentage of users on Chrome are:

  1. Wyoming – 65.94%
  2. Florida – 37.15%
  3. New Mexico – 36.92%
  4. Connecticut – 36.75%
  5. Alabama – 36.64%

As you may have noticed, in many of these top fives, small states have been overrepresented, which makes sense. Smaller sample size means greater deviation from the true mean, all of which is to say, you can probably ignore the smallest states’ unusually large Chrome numbers here. Other states with over 35% Chrome users include Michigan and Nevada.

iOS thumps Android

There are only two mobile operating systems that anything approaching a significant number of people use: iOS and Android. Apple’s iOS has a staggering 65.54% market share, which is the primary reason it is a trillion dollar company. Android takes the remaining 34.46% of users. Whether iOS is “better” than Android is debatable, but its dominance in the mobile market is, for the time being, unimpeachable.

The five states with the largest percentage of iOS users are:

  1. Alaska – 77.88%
  2. Connecticut – 76.94%
  3. Rhode Island – 75.50%
  4. Hawaii – 74.86%
  5. Massachusetts – 74.02%

Other states among the ten with over 70% iOS market share include New York and Louisiana.

The five states with the largest percentage of Android users are:

  1. Wyoming – 44.50%
  2. West Virginia – 43.05%
  3. Nevada – 41.67%
  4. New Mexico – 40.49%
  5. Iowa – 40.44%

Other states among the 14 with over 38% Android market share include Washington, North Carolina, Colorado, Arizona, and Michigan.

Verizon and AT&T are in a dead heat for lead mobile carrier

The mobile carrier market is a bit more contested than the mobile browser or operating system ones. In 31 states, including Pennsylvania, Colorado, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Ohio, Verizon has either a majority or plurality of mobile carrier traffic.

The states with the largest percentage of Verizon customers are:

  1. Montana – 79.62%
  2. South Dakota – 73.44%
  3. Wyoming – 73.39%
  4. North Dakota – 73.15%
  5. New Mexico – 71.52%

Overall, Verizon is the cellular carrier for 28.6% of users; AT&T is slightly behind at 27.13%. That gives it the lead in 18 states, including Texas, Georgia, Oregon, Maryland, Missouri, New York, Illinois, California, Michigan and Florida.

The states with the largest percentage of AT&T customers are:

  1. Alaska – 70.37%
  2. Kentucky – 53.23%
  3. Louisiana – 48.91%
  4. West Virginia – 46.59%
  5. Arkansas – 42.33%

Additionally, T-Mobile is the largest provider in two states: Nevada (41.95%) and Alabama (31.84%)

As an amusing aside, “Searching for Service” came in 19th place nationally among browsers, 0.15291% of all cellular users are not finding what they’re looking for.

Stay tuned for more data. Next up: how America’s ten largest cities fare across these metrics.

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