I talk a lot about trends here, and it's always a bone of contention because it seems that everyone has their own take on which trends to keep an eye on which to ignore, what they mean and what they don't.
Here's my take on trends. The data that I look at most often is Net Applications. This company draws browser and OS data based on 160 million visitors per month visiting client websites, which means that the data is drawn from a variety of websites. I think that this is more representative than data drawn from a single website, or a group of websites on a similar subject.
Rather than focusing on the specific numbers, I like to look at overall trends rather than individual percentages. A 0.3% increase or decrease in market share might or might not be relevant, but seeing an overall increase or decrease in market share over time is far more significant and relevant.
Take Net Applications' OS market share data for the past two years. What really stands out when taking a look at the data in this way is how little things have changed. Windows has dropped a couple of percentage points, Mac has gained and couple, and the rest is little more than noise. In two years the landscape hasn't changed that much. Even platforms that have seen stratospheric levels of hype such the iPhone haven't made much of an impact on the OS landscape.
Browser trends show more of a change over the past two years, but even here the changes are slow. Over the two years we've seen Internet Explorer shed some 15% market share, from just under 80% to a little under 65%. Firefox is up some 9%, from 15.5% to 24% (to celebrate its fifth anniversary Firefox broke the 25% milestone). The remaining market share has been mopped up mostly by Google Chrome (which didn't exist two years ago and has now captured some 3.5% market share) and Apple's Safari (up to just under 4.5% from a little under 2.5%). Change, but nonetheless gradual change.
Note: It's worth noting that Mozilla accepts Net Applications as an accurate reflection of Firefox's market share.
So, what's your take on change over the past couple of years? Do you feel that Net Applications accurately reflects these changes or do you go with some other data? Let me know!