Hour-by-Hour Analysis: North American Android and iOS Web Usage

Hour-by-Hour Analysis: North American Android and iOS Web Usage

  • 12 June 2013

Android and iOS both have their own sets of die-hard advocates, with each side eager to taut the features of their preferred mobile operating system. As many past Chitika Insights studies have reported, within North America, iOS is, and has always been the more popular of the two in terms of Web traffic volume. However, our latest study focused on quantifying the differences in the daily browsing behavior of iOS and Android users. Specifically, we examined hourly Web traffic volume throughout the day.

To quantify this study, Chitika Insights examined a sample of hundreds of millions of U.S. and Canadian smartphone- and tablet-based online ad impressions seen over the Chitika ad network. These data sets ranged from May 1st to May 8th, 2013.  A user agent analysis was then conducted to identify the mobile operating system of the user, and each was sorted by the date and time at which the impression occurred.


The highest volume of iOS and Android Web traffic occurs at 10:00pm ET/7:00pm PT, indicating that late evening hours are the most popular browsing times for both sets of users. However, for iOS, this maximum is followed by sharp drop in usage for the next seven hours, pointing to a tremendous impact on iOS device usage during typical sleeping hours. On the other hand, Android-based Web traffic volume is not nearly as volatile. Usage volume drops more steadily following peak hours, and in the morning rises to nearly the same point as the late-evening maximum.

Additionally, while both Android and iOS Web traffic volume hit their respective lows for the day from 4:00 - 5:00am ET, Android’s share of the mobile market actually surpasses iOS during that period, reaching its maximum share at 5:00am ET with 56.5% of total mobile Web traffic. 

As seen in the graph below, overall, iOS traffic volume is higher than that of Android within North America. Moreover, analyst estimates point to Android smartphones already outnumbering those sporting iOS within the U.S., making iPad users, and their large share of tablet Web usage, a key contributor to Apple’s continued dominance of the North American mobile Web. However, despite these differences, the Web usage patterns of both sets of users follow a similar path, indicating that increased usage volume on the part of iOS users, rather than marked differences in browsing behavior, are the cause of this share disparity.