New data showing Windows 8 beating Android in web traffic, but how?


If this latest data from internet traffic analytics firm StatCounter is to be believed, it appears that over the weekend the 2 week old Windows 8 somehow managed to overtake Android in total amount of web traffic. If you feel like someone’s fed you crazy pills, you’re not the only one. Keep in mind, this data represents both desktop and mobile devices (including tablets), but with the sheer amount of Android devices on the market, how could this even be possible?

This could have something to do with the fact that people spend more time at home surfing the web on their Windows 8 desktops than when out and about on their Android devices. We also don’t know if StatCounter’s data is also accounting for Windows 8 release candidates that launched back in June. but even then, the data is still a bit puzzling. Any idea what this could mean? Also, what happened the first few days of November that caused Android web traffic to drop so suddenly?


Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. I think they have a set list of websites, not the entire web.

    1. Statcounter runs on a lot of websites around the world. Those are the “list”. They are credible because it’s one of the most popular statistics system used by many (second to Google Analytics, as my guess).

      My websites do not use Statcounter. So if there are people searching for Android and landing on my site, Statcounter will not count them.

  2. all these new windows 8 machines needing massive windows updates to keep secure…thats what it is!

    1. If their “% web traffic” means Giga- and Tera-bytes, then you’re right. I myself seriously considered spending only $39 for an official update from Windows 7, via digital download. But then I found that my VAIO doesn’t officially support W8, hence there ain’t a byte of my traffic in these stats.

      1. I’ll suggest to you the same thing I suggest to everyone. Try Ubuntu.

        1. Why not suggest an OS that doesn’t suck. Like OpenSUSE or Mageia. :p

          1. Because I have committed the greatest of sins. I really like Unity.

          2. TBH, I gave Ubunutu a go a few weeks back with unity and I kinna liked it, just a shame it was still ubuntu behind it.

          3. I like Ubuntu. What don’t you like about it?

        2. Only an ignorant and peer-pressured teenager/pre-25 potz can suggest that everyone should have that he does. If your PC usage is limited to Web-browsing/shell scripting/C-programming then yes – you should stick with Ubuntu (although I would stick with OpenSuse if I needed a Linux flavor). I use my computers for serious IT work that pays good buck, and that does NOT include coding, which I do for a hobby. And all products (Oracle) I use for living are still PC/Windows based. So please don’t try to cure everyone with your red pill, and think twice before you post anything like that.
          I even personally don’t think Android is good for everyone (OMG, he did not just say that).

          1. OK, so you dislike Ubuntu. I don’t care. I didn’t know your backstory. Getting pissed off doesn’t get you anywhere.
            But, for someone who doesn’t work for Oracle, or Microsoft, etc., Ubuntu is a viable alternative. I’ve successfully converted at least three people, who like Ubuntu more.
            And by the way, I am a teenager. I might be peer pressured sometimes. But I use Ubuntu of my own volition.

        3. I’d rather be productive and play games thanks.

          1. Cool. You do that. I’ll continue being productive and playing games over here as well(I’m an Indie gamer, ‘cuz I can’t ‘ford nothin’ but HIB).

      2. The download would be done on windows 7 though.
        I fully expect windows 8 to work on your VAIO. It might not be ‘supported’ but that certainly doesn’t mean it won’t 100% work!

        It’s like my router and internet doesn’t support Linux. Infact none of my ISPs or routers have supported Linux over the past 10 years apparently. (they work just fine TYVM).

  3. Well, what happens when you’re browsing on an Android device and you have the user agent set to “desktop” because that’s what I have set on both my phone and tab.

    1. i was thinking the same thing lol, how do we have so many devices and now even the best selling mobile phone in the world but only 10 % of all web traffic when compared to iOS or Windows. Makes no sense

  4. I’m not sure about the exact metric, but how much pure web surfing do you suppose people do on phones? Personally I do far less web surfing on mobile than the desktop. I suspect its the same for most people, and if so, that would explain the numbers.

    1. Yeah, I avoid web surfing on my phone if possible. Maybe following a link someone posted on Twitter or something but when I get home, I’m online for hours browsing everything from kittens to squid girls. O_o

      1. Squid girls?

        1. Yes sir, squid girls…

          I have to say I often frequent the internet in search of them as well.

      2. Chris I pose a challenge to you. Don’t use the “O_o” face for a week. Not that there is anything wrong with it. You just use it in all your posts and need to expand your horizons.

  5. Android devices have apps to get to a lot of the content that you need a browser on Windows to get to. Also, if you use Chrome as your browser, is it showing up as Android, or something else? There are also many Android browsers that you can spoof the UA info sent to show that it’s from something else to get a different page type.

    1. Interesting theory..

    2. What do you use to do THis? I had a version of cyanogen mod that spoofed webpages into thinking I was on a Mac or windows or lixus computer and it was pretty sweet.

      Can you tell me more about what you know?

      1. Dolphin Browser has desktop mode.

    3. That could explain the low numbers. Neither Chrome nor default browser get picked up as Android on my phone when using desktop mode, where they are seen as android using mobile version.

      Info from

      Doesn’t explain the dip for Android that’s not seen on windows 8.

  6. Sandy is the reason Androids dropped those couple days.

    1. Holy cow. Why didn’t I think of that? Maybe cuz I’m just a dumb west coaster.. =/

    2. I know my devices were out of comission because of Sandy. :(

    3. and that other drop could be due to the winter storm hitting the east coast in the past few days

    4. I can’t see it myself unless these stats are purely for the U.S.A.
      Even then, the loss of power would effect Tablets and desktops FAR more than smartphones. Most Androids are phones where it’s struggled to make tablets sales.

      Without additional data it’s hard to figure what’s going on.

      1. The power loss pretty much crippled my phone for pretty much the whole first week, especially near my home. At work, it was a little better, but only because power was restored earlier.

    5. and the latest snow storm

    6. Wouldn’t the Windows devices also have been out of commission? I don’t get it.

  7. Seeing as how this includes W8 desktops and laptops I dont see this being very difficult to believe

    1. I guess it’s just the fact that Windows 8 has only been officially available for about 2 weeks now where as Android is pushing it’s 4th year and corners the market in web connected devices.

      1. yeah, but i doubt it takes into account all the people that may still be using the RC builds for the past year or pirated copies. ;)

        Im sure PCs at homes schools and universities whether laptop or desktop far outweigh tablets and smarthones. Its new, eveyones finding ways to get to play with it. Give it some time amd see how those numbers looks.

        I know myself I cant wait to get my hands on a Surface Pro… may play with it for a little while because its new, but I wont be keeping W8 lol

        1. Yes, cos Schools and Unis are well known for their rapid tech upgrades :p

          I’m totally with you on wanting to have a fondle with Surface Pro though, the decent Surface reviews have really whet my appetite.

  8. It’s coming from the traffic of viruses, malware, trojan horses that people expect from Windows.

    1. this is quite hilarious. thank you

    2. While I typically defend Windows from these types of comments… this made me laugh. In a good way.

  9. I think we need to understand how much web traffic windows 7 generates compared to Android. If it’s a 100 to 1 and Windows 8 took over 2 percent of windows 7 desktops already then it isn’t hard to see. I don’t know the numbers but I do know I access the internet far more on my laptop all day working than I do on any of my devices.

  10. Maybe Windows 8 is listing anything that comes from it regardless of browser as Windows 8? Don’t hate on me if that is stupid.

  11. It could also be that more data is sent to Microsoft. Or more malware on win8 that uses your PC as a spam or malware relay. The live tiles are also data hungry.

  12. blasphemy!

  13. Windows covers 92% of computers in the world. There are over a billion PCs in use today. Even a small fraction of them upgrading is still a really substantial number. Android accounts for 3%. The other commentors all have good points, too. I spend tons of time browsing on my MBP, but very little time comparatively on my Gnex. I use my phone a lot for a lot of things, but plain ol’ WWW browsing isn’t one of the main ones.

  14. I hardly use my browser on my phone. Anything I do generally comes form an app. I use pulse for reading all my news etc. The specified app for anything else. I get on my desptop If I need to really be “Online”

  15. I can’t speak for everyone, but my web traffic took a nose dive from 10/30 through 11/1 thanks to Sandy. Web traffic is tough to generate when you have no power and very spotty cell service.

  16. Most likely because people spend the whole day on their PC, while only a few minutes on their phone browsing. So a few million Windows 8 PC’s could account for the total amount of “browsing traffic” from hundreds of millions of Android devices.

    This is also why Net Applications’ data always shows somehow that “iOS market share” is like 3x bigger than “Android marketshare”. In terms of numbers of units, that is of course nonsense. We know there are 500 vs 400 million Android devices vs iOS devices out there, and growing at a rate of 2-3:1 vs iOS, and 5-6:1 vs iPhones.

    But people still use iPads a lot more than they do either the Android phones or iPhones for browsing the web. It’s even more true for PC’s. So nothing that surprising about this finding.

    1. > Most likely because people spend the whole day on their PC, while only a
      > few minutes on their phone browsing. So a few million Windows 8 PC’s
      > could account for the total amount of “browsing traffic” from hundreds
      > of millions of Android devices.

      Not sure where you studied math, but that would mean users would have to spend 500 *TIMES* more minutes per day using Win8 desktop… than Android on mobile devices.

      10 minutes per day on Wind8… would have to equal 5000 minutes per day on Android.
      (There are only 1440 minutes in a day.)

      1. Your meme arrow usage has thoroughly confused me.

  17. OK, if i read this right it says windows 8’s (the desktop version) data is counted. In which case I would like to point out that it is a desktop and desktops use much more data than 10 smart phones combined if you use it anything like me.

  18. I rarely use my phone to casually browse the web, thats what my pc is for… the only times I use the internet on my phone is through apps… Maybe that’s why Windows 8 has higher web traffic..

  19. I blames Windows Update….

  20. Windows 8 tiles are interactive, internet-connected apps. They’re constantly pinging for updated information.

  21. But how much of that windows 8 desktop traffic is in a Google Chrome browser? Desktop OS is irrevlevant.

  22. if you use a galaxy than it shows up as linux instead of android. just fyi…

    1. That could skew a whole lot.

      1. See.

    2. Android rarely reports it’s UA properly. The stock browser frequently reports itself as Safari on Mac.

  23. so many variables could cause this: windows updates, desktop version of web sites vs mobile, people torrenting movies on their PC, antivirus programs downloading virus definition files twice daily… PCs are by nature more of a network hog than a phone. I’d argue that if Win8 DIDN’T overtake Android web use, win8 would be a major flop.

  24. Did ANYONE check the dates? This has nothing to do with recent events. We’re talking about web traffic from June and EARLIER. So, this is well before the official release of Windows 8! I smell a rat, or (more likely) very limited pools of data.

    1. If you think those dates are from june, how would you read the months listed before that, for example, 28/11/2012? Not everyone uses the USA formatting of dates, FYI.

  25. We don’t believe you. You need more people.

  26. im sticking to windows 7

  27. Think of the massive amount of data being used to download lost/new programs and apps for Windows 8. I know if I lose all the programs I have for my laptop, or if I were to buy a new one, there would be gigs of programs I have to re-download.

  28. Why does phandroid post a very old line-graph from way back in June2012????

    Then talks about numbers from a single Nov2012 weekend… .but hides the line-graph entirely.

    Great “reporting”, phandroid.

    1. The date format on the graph is DD/MM/YYYY instead of MM/DD/YYYY. So everything on the graph is from Oct 21 – Nov 6, 2012

  29. Well it would have to be that my data plan on my Android device limits me to 2GB/ month, where as I probably went through over 5GB of data just last night on my Win8 PC.

  30. Windows 8 is reporting statistics back to Microsoft with key clicks, applications installed, application profiling (usage) information, etc. In addition, it needs to update frequently to fix all the viri, trojans, malware, bloatware that is installed along with it. In addition, all the viri (et al) that the “security software” misses – are turning those systems into zombies that are generating massive amounts of data traffic trying to hijack, brute force password crack, etc. other Windows 8 systems.

  31. im just throwing this out there even though im pretty sure its unrelated but i was recently updating my windows 7 on my laptop and i noticed an update that mention (cant quite clearly recall) something about it implementing new windows 8 features on windows 7. Could it be possible that when surfing on the windows 7 OS that a new feature might be being picked up on the web as a windows 8 desktop/laptop instead of a windows 7 ? pure unlikely speculation but i just thought ide throw that out there see if anyone shared any input regarding if it might have any connection.

  32. Could be a bug in windows 8. Or maybe it’s all those ads:

  33. Win8 and IE zerodays = pwnd = your device is now run by the bots!

  34. I’m not sure I understand this article. A 100Mbit seedbox running Win8 could pull as much data as 10,000 android devices (very rough estimate – probably way more) in a 24 hour period. x86 desktops are tailored for using the internet….so of course, even in the early stages of adoption, it could account for massive amounts of web traffic.

  35. Does not mean anything, why are people so crazy over web traffic. It does not necessarily tell the whole story

  36. Microsoft created virtual clouds of win8 running surfing scripts

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