As reported last week, Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS passed their desktop operating system (Mac OS) in web browsing market for the first time in history. According to new research from Canalys, smartphone shipments overtook personal computers in 2011, moving 487.7 million units over the course of the year, compared to 414.6 million PCs. These changes are depictive of a greater trend in consumer behavior, as the market continues to shift towards a more mobile, on-the-go consumer focus.

Not only has the PC industry been plagued with stiff competition stemming from the increasing number of mobile devices, but natural disaster as well. Flooding in Thailand during the 2011 monsoon season disrupted disk drive and PC components factories, which then impacted PC production. As PC manufacturers work to adapt to changes in the computing industry and other external forces, Chitika Insights sought to investigate Windows web browsing market share to determine the degree to which this trend can be visualized.

To quantify this study, Chitika Insights analyzed a series of impressions each month, from August 2011 to February 2012. Within these data sets, the user agent from hundreds of millions of impressions from the Chitika Ad network were analyzed to determine an approximate web browsing market share of respective operating systems (in this case, Windows). A directional trend of Windows overall web browsing market share can be seen below:

The chart above exhibits a steadily declining trend in Windows’ web browsing market share, over the same time period in which iOS surpassed Mac OS in web browsing market share, and Android and iOS saw a record number of activations. Since August 2011, Windows has declined in share by almost 10%. This is significant, given that Windows is the largest operating system in the world, both by units sold and web browsing market share. Between December and January, Windows posted its largest drop of 4.2%.

With such a stranglehold on the PC market, why has Windows web browsing market share been on the decline? It could perhaps be related to the trend of consumers who prefer to do more of their browsing from a mobile or tablet device, reinforced by increased browsing capabilities. Additionally, disruptions to the supply chain can cripple markets the size of the personal computing industry, which function like intricate machines with many moving parts, susceptible to external factors.

Stay tuned to Chitika Insights for future updates concerning the personal computing industry.

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