Data Insights

The Mixpanel mobile study: How America’s ten largest cities use their phones

Jordan Carr

Earlier this week, we took a look Americans’ mobile activity on a state-by-state basis. Today, we’re looking into how America’s ten largest cities use their phones. By drilling down into  hundreds of millions of data points gathered from the first half of 2018, we got some answers about the ways people in ten largest cities use their phones. On some level, things are the same: iOS is more popular than Android, and Safari is the leading mobile browser, followed by Chrome and Facebook. However, the way users connect changes dramatically in the cities, with AT&T serving as the most popular cell carrier while Verizon, which is the most popular nationally, falls to third.

Cities lean slightly more Android than then rest of the United States

Each of America’s ten largest cities have more users on iOS than Android.  As with the state-by-state data, this is a two-horse race. The Android usage rate is one minus the number of iOS users. On the whole, iOS has  64.53% market share of America’s ten largest cities, with Android taking the remaining 35.47%. Notably, only three cities are above that average, which is heavily skewed by nearly 4/5 New Yorkers being on iOS. The overall iOS market share in these cities is slightly smaller than the national number of 65.54%.

iOS

  1. New York – 79.74%
  2. San Jose – 69.19%
  3. Los Angeles – 65.81%
  4. Chicago – 62.29%
  5. San Diego – 60.53%
  6. San Antonio – 59.68%
  7. Houston – 59.33%
  8. Philadelphia – 58.00%
  9. Phoenix – 57.61%
  10. Dallas – 57.59%

The cities are less into using Facebook as a mobile browser

One of the surprising findings from looking at the nation as a whole was that Facebook was responsible for 7.63% of mobile browser traffic. In the top ten cities, that number declines 20% to 6.09%. Safari is slightly more popular in the cities (59.07%) than in America as a whole (58.39%). Chrome is slightly behind in the cities (32.97%) where it is nationally (33.30%). Additionally, Firefox, which did not register enough users to warrant inclusion in our review of the nation, accounts for 1.04% of users in America’s ten largest cities, buoyed by solid showings in New York and San Jose. On the whole, each of these cities goes Safari-Chrome-Facebook in the 1-2-3 slots. Not surprisingly, New York, which had the highest iOS percentage also had the highest Safari percentage. Philadelphia was the only city in which Chrome managed over 40% market share, though Houston, Phoenix, Dallas, and San Antonio well all at 37% or above.

New York

  1. Safari – 68.22%
  2. Chrome – 20.87%
  3. Facebook – 5.42%
  4. Firefox – 4.77%

Los Angeles

  1. Safari – 62.99%
  2. Chrome – 30.51%
  3. Facebook – 5.43%

Chicago

  1. Safari – 56.62%
  2. Chrome – 35.40%
  3. Facebook – 7.04%

Houston

  1. Safari – 54.49%
  2. Chrome – 38.38%
  3. Facebook – 6.08%

Phoenix

  1. Safari – 54.72%
  2. Chrome – 38.06%
  3. Facebook – 6.30%

Philadelphia

  1. Safari – 52.49%
  2. Chrome – 41.03%
  3. Facebook – 5.65%

San Antonio

  1. Safari – 54.48%
  2. Chrome – 37.00%
  3. Facebook – 7.27%

San Diego

  1. Safari – 60.46%
  2. Chrome – 32.60%
  3. Facebook – 6.17%

Dallas

  1. Safari – 53.68%
  2. Chrome – 37.87%
  3. Facebook – 6.86%

San Jose

  1. Safari – 64.69%
  2. Chrome – 26.66%
  3. Facebook – 5.50%
  4. Firefox – 2.16%

AT&T wins the cities; Verizon falls from first to third

While Verizon (28.6%) had a slight edge over AT&T (27.13%) in America as a whole, the roles are switched when we zoom in on America’s ten largest cities. AT&T takes the lead (30.99%), and T-Mobile hops into second place (22.22%) on the back of strong showings in San Diego, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Houston. Verizon is in third place at 17.59%. Additionally, Sprint (8.11%), MetroPCS (7.90%), Cricket (1.49%) and Boost Mobile (1.13%) all registered over 1% in these cities.

New York

  1. AT&T – 44.29%
  2. Verizon – 23.21%
  3. T-Mobile – 7.04%

Los Angeles

  1. AT&T – 30.98%
  2. T-Mobile – 25.75%
  3. Verizon – 13.37%
  4. MetroPCS – 9.32%
  5. Sprint – 8.19%

Chicago

  1. AT&T – 28.58%
  2. T-Mobile – 22.44%
  3. Verizon – 17.93%
  4. Sprint – 11.46%
  5. MetroPCS – 7.18%

Houston

  1. AT&T – 25.11%
  2. T-Mobile – 23.36%
  3. Sprint – 14.07%
  4. Verizon – 11.16%
  5. MetroPCS – 7.68%
  6. Cricket – 5.48%

Phoenix

  1. Verizon – 34.59%
  2. T-Mobile – 23.19%
  3. Sprint – 12.96%
  4. AT&T – 8.40%
  5. MetroPCS – 6.51%

Philadelphia

  1. T-Mobile – 34.66%
  2. AT&T – 21.10%
  3. Verizon – 19.05%
  4. MetroPCS – 14.16%

San Antonio

  1. AT&T – 43.20%
  2. T-Mobile – 17.84%
  3. Verizon – 9.30%
  4. MetroPCS – 8.21%
  5. Cricket – 7.21%
  6. Sprint – 5.97%

San Diego

  1. T-Mobile – 37.33%
  2. Verizon – 21.23%
  3. AT&T – 15.19%
  4. MetroPCS – 11.81%
  5. Sprint – 5.17%

Dallas

  1. AT&T – 30.95%
  2. T-Mobile – 20.47%
  3. Verizon – 11.39%
  4. MetroPCS – 10.29%
  5. Sprint – 8.59%

San Jose

  1. AT&T – 40.91%
  2. Verizon – 20.23%
  3. T-Mobile – 14.22%

It should be no surprise that America’s largest cities face a relatively more competitive market for cellular coverage, an industry that relies much more heavily on amortizing fixed, physical costs than say, a browser or operating system.

For the third and final part of the Mixpanel mobile study, check back in next week, as we look at how these trends shake out globally.

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