Google Chrome Usage Report (2019-2020)

Google Chrome Usage Report (2019-2020)

29 Apr 2020

quick summary

This report marks the release of The Onely Map – a visualization of how the world is accessing the web, made possible by the data publicly available in the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX) database. CrUX provides insight into how real-world users browse the web on Google Chrome. 

Google Chrome is the most widely used browser in the world with nearly 64% of the browser market share. It’s available on all kinds of devices ranging from a mobile phone to a desktop computer.

The report covers general trends and insights drawn from the CrUX database with regard to device usage and connection type. If you’re interested in usage statistics for a particular country, visit The Onely Map.

KEY STATISTICS

  • Global desktop usage share grew by 23% in the first quarter of 2020, which is correlated with worldwide Coronavirus-related lockdowns.
  • In 9 out of every 10 countries, websites are visited on mobile devices more than 50% of the time; in 5 out of every 10 countries, it’s more than 75%.
  • The average mobile usage share grew by over 5 percentage points in 2019, from 73.8% to 79.1%.
  • The shift towards mobile usage is particularly dynamic in emerging markets.
  • A 4G connection is used by Google Chrome users all over the world 92% of the time. However, in 1 in every 5 countries, 4G is used in less than 50% of all cases.
  • In March 2020, only 46% of users in Africa browsed the web using a 4G connection, while in Europe, it was nearly 98%.
  • In 22% of all countries 4G connections account for less than half of all connections.

Google Chrome Device Usage Statistics

We’re getting more and more used to browsing the web on our phones.

According to StatCounter, 52% of all web traffic comes from mobile devices. How does the usage data collected from Google Chrome users line up with that? Let’s find out!

Mobile, desktop, or tablet? Which device is most often used worldwide

HOW DO CHROME USERS BROWSE THE INTERNET?

Google Chrome is primarily used on mobile devices. While the proportions slightly change over time, it’s clear that an average website is primarily browsed by mobile users.

Google Chrome is predominantly used on mobile devices

On different continents, the proportions between mobile, desktop, and tablet usage are varied, although mobile usage is prevailing across all regions.

A chart showing mobile vs desktop usage across continents in March 2020

WHAT PERCENT OF CHROME TRAFFIC IS MOBILE?

In March 2020, Chrome users accessed an average website on mobile devices 74.3% of the time. However, mobile usage share varies greatly in different countries and world regions.

Mobile usage varies across continents, but the trends are similar

Africa and Asia are consistently the two continents with the greatest mobile usage share.

MARCH 2020 GOOGLE CHROME MOBILE USAGE SHARE ON VARIOUS CONTINENTS

Africa 84% 
Asia 76.4%
North America 74.5%
South America 73%
Oceania 67.1%
Europe 65.3%

In March 2020, there were only 21 countries (9% of all countries included in the CrUX database) which had a mobile usage share of 50% or less. Many of these countries are among the most developed in the world, like Australia, South Korea, United States, Denmark or Norway. One of the reasons for this may be that iOS devices are exceptionally popular in these countries, and the CrUX database doesn’t collect usage statistics from iOS devices.

IS THE MOBILE USAGE SHARE GROWING?

The global trend in 2019 was that the mobile usage share was increasing – it grew by 5.5 percentage points. This shift was primarily driven by emerging markets in Africa and South America. In Chad, mobile usage share grew by over 24%, from 71.4% in January 2019 to 95.5% in December 2019. At the same time in Venezuela, it grew by 21.3% to reach 65.9%.

However, global mobile usage share started decreasing significantly in the first quarter of 2020.

Mobile usage share has grown by 5 percentage points in 2019 and it started dropping in 2020

In the first quarter of 2020, worldwide desktop usage of Google Chrome grew by 23%. In Australia and New Zealand, it grew by as much as 10 percentage points. In Italy, it grew by 8.6 percentage points. 

DOES THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK AFFECT INTERNET USAGE?

It’s likely that one of the reasons for the 23% increase in desktop usage share in the first quarter of 2020 is the global coronavirus pandemic – a third of the global population is in lockdown (as of April 25th). It’s not surprising that Chrome users browse more on their laptops or desktop computers while being forced to stay home.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that people are using their mobile phones less under quarantine. 

GOOGLE CHROME TABLETS USAGE: ARE TABLETS DEAD?

Are people using tablets to browse the internet? There are only 6 countries in the world where tablets account for more than 1% of website visits on Google Chrome. 5 of them are European countries. 

In most regions, tablet usage is negligible – in March 2020, tablet usage of less than 0.1% was recorded in over 50% of all countries.

top 10 countries with highest tablet usage share

Google Chrome 4G vs 3G Usage Statistics

While 5G is looming over the horizon, there are still many parts of the world where 4G coverage is very low. Is the world ready for the web to get even more data-hungry? Let’s check how the digital divide looks like in 2020.

5G is coming, but 4G isn't fully available in many countries yet

IS 4G THE MOST POPULAR CONNECTION TYPE?

According to the CrUX data for March 2020, an average website was visited on a 4G connection 92% of the time. This number is down from 93.4% in March 2019. One possible reason for that is because there are more remote areas connected to the web now, and the possibility of accessing the internet even using slower connections like 3G or 2G in those areas is a step forward.

But there are still many countries where 4G coverage is very poor.

TOP 10 COUNTRIES WITH THE LOWEST 4G USAGE:

Niger  8.2%
Mauritania 14.4%
Yemen 21.3%
Zambia 25.3%
Congo-Kinshasa 26.2%
Comoros 27.4%
Burundi 27.5%
Malawi 27.8%
Mayotte 28.1%
Samoa 28.5%

DOES THE 4G COVERAGE VARY ACROSS THE CONTINENTS?

There are major inequalities in access to fast internet on various continents

It’s shocking to see the difference between the 4G coverage on various continents. 4G usage share is twice as big in Europe or North America as it is in Africa.

4G usage share per continent in March 2020:

Africa 44.4%
Oceania 44.5%
Asia 76.1%
South America 81.9%
North America 88.9%
Europe 97.9%

The digital divide
the Brandt line accurately shows the digital divide

The line on the image above is known as the Brandt line. It was conceived in the 1980s to illustrate the divide between the rich North and the poor South based on GDP per capita. It was always controversial and it is now generally considered obsolete as many countries previously belonging to the poor South have become much more developed in the past decades.

However, as you can see, it is accurate in highlighting parts of the world where 4G hasn’t been satisfactorily adapted yet.

Conclusion

  • If you have a website that you want to do well internationally, you need to make sure that it’s adjusted to how your customers browse the web in various countries. Onely provides cutting-edge performance optimization services that will increase your users’ satisfaction and improve your standings with Google. Get in touch with us!
  • The CrUX report is an amazing source of information about how real-world users access your content, and no amount of lab data can replace it. Use it regularly or ask your SEOs to do so.
  • Not every website needs to load quickly. Moreover, not every website needs to load quickly on a 8-year-old mobile phone with a 3G connection. Get to know your audience and meet their needs.
  • Keep in mind that there are people out there who are looking online for products to buy, news to read, or skills to learn, and they can only do that by using a slow device with a slow connection. The Onely Map illustrates that. We shouldn’t leave those people behind. 
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Methodology

Here’s how The Onely Map and the statistics in the article should be interpreted: If the mobile usage in March 2020 in Poland shows 69.52%, it means that the average website was visited on a mobile device 69.52% of the time. It doesn’t mean that 69.52% of all web traffic in Poland came from mobile devices.

The CrUX database contains data collected from Chrome users that meet certain conditions, such as having usage statistics reporting enabled. It also doesn’t collect any data from Chrome users on iOS devices. Keep in mind that while Chrome is the most popular browser,  there are many others being used, and their popularity is bound to vary in different countries and world regions. While these data are informative, they don’t precisely represent how the general population is using the web. You can read more about it here.

In various countries, there are different numbers of websites that are included in the database. For a website to be included, it has to meet certain thresholds with regard to the number of monthly visitors. What this means is that for some countries, the sample of websites included in the CrUX database is smaller and less representative than for others. There are between 5-6 million websites that are included in the monthly CrUX report, which is a small fraction of all websites.

The CrUX database provides data about how websites are accessed by Google Chrome users. It doesn’t contain information about the number of visitors that visited a particular website; instead, it shows fractions of users that accessed the website in a certain way, and these fractions add up to 1 (100%).  

Device type and effective connection type are the dimensions in the CrUX database that we used to prepare this analysis. By aggregating data for all websites visited within a given month in a given country (using Google BigQuery), we calculated the average percentages of visits to websites in that country that were made using a particular device and connection type.

For calculating global and regional percentages, we used the unweighted average values calculated for all countries within a given region. One exception is the fact that the average website was visited on a 4G connection 92% of the time in March 2020 was calculated using a weighted average based on the mobile usage share in various countries and the total number of origins in those countries.

When providing the list of top 10 countries with the lowest 4G usage share in March 2020 we filtered for countries with at least 100 websites included in the database.

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