Who cut the cheese I mean market share?
Got a sinking feeling that something isn’t right? Something stinking up the joint? Well check your cupboards for some market share.
If you read my post about sizing up the mobile phone market, you may have gathered that I treat market share cautiously. So the topic today is how to handle market share without soiling your hands, or your co-workers hands, or your boss, or loved ones. Get out your vertical reference tools and read on.
Over the years we’ve all been bombarded by articles and reports and analyst commentary that said Microsoft’s IE browser has the most “market share”. It’s so pervasive, I’m not even going to bother to site a link to a report. It’s axiomatic, it’s common knowledge, it’s part of our heritage. Keep that in mind for a second.
Today’s example of research comes from our good friends at TechCrunch. MG Siegler wrote a piece today about a company called Wakoopa. The gist of the story is that Wakoopa has a user base of 75K users, and they track how much time those users spend on activities and applications (according to the article the data is gathered from desktop tracking software users install). I think it’s a great article, really interesting, and of course it provides a bit of grist for our mill here. So after you’re done here, I recommend you read it.
Along with various other data cited in the article, the Wakoopa data shows that “Mozilla’s Firefox browser … is the number one app on both Windows and Mac platforms. And in every continent besides Africa, it’s over 60% usage among web browser“. The article goes on to say, “… Africa is the only continent where Internet Explorer finishes as the second most-used browser. On every other continent, IE is in third place among browsers — or worse“.
Now wait just a minute! That cannot be true. We all know, with certainty, that IE has the most market share. So (as Elaine would say), “get out of here!”.
Well, IE probably does have the most market share. But the key question is, “share of what”? And that one question is the most important question you can ask when presented with market share data. Share of what? The TC piece on Wakoopa forces us to ask that question. The “market share” IE has is really about installations on desktops, not about usage. A very important distinction.
I cannot say this enough: “share of what”? There are other questions, like for example is the Wakoopa data statistically relevant, what regions are covered (WW in this case), how does the desktop tracking actually work, what platforms does it sit on, how often is the data updated, and so on. And without reading the Wakoopa data in detail, and the methodology that drives it, you really don’t know what you have. So when dealing with market share, be careful to make sure you are standing upright.
Thanks for stopping by! And remember to keep your vertical reference tools handy.