Bonum Certa Men Certa

Commentary: StatCounter 'Global' Statistics

StatCounter bias



Summary: How StatCounter turns 4-5% of the world's population into 25% and reduces the world's largest Internet population (China) to just 2.46%, then claims to be measuring global market share (other surveys do the same thing)

AL submits: "Thank you for all your hard work in bringing us news through Techrights. I am reading it daily and find lots of interesting information.



"I read one of the comments from Mad Hatter in which he was talking about Wikipedia article on OS market share. I went to check it out and found that they use 1% for Linux (globally) based on the research by StatCounter Global. I was interested to see how this group is gathering their statistical data. If you go to their FAQ section they talk about sample size per country/region and there is a link to the full list of all countries. As they stated themselves their pool is 16,3 bln hits. Quite large I would say. But there is something interesting - the biggest group (region) is United States with 3,965,972,279 hits. That is almost 25% of the total pool. Now, my days of statistical studies are long gone but I still remember that in order to have accurate result you cannot over-represent one group. The result will be obviously skewed. We have one country that contributes almost 25% to the result compared to the rest of the world. As StatCounter states that they choose randomly that makes it very likely that lots of data on hits would be taken from USA. You know, for example, how much is the share of hits from China? 2,46%! In fact, looking at the whole list you can see that starting from Korea and further down the share is less than 1%! That includes countries like Poland, Greece, Japan, Russia, Switzerland etc.

“The result will be obviously skewed. We have one country that contributes almost 25% to the result compared to the rest of the world.”
      --Al
"I know some can say that there are many more computers sold in USA than in other countries (can't be true). But market share is more complex. If we have 95% (example) Linux presence on desktops in China, they would hardly make any influence with representation of only 2,46% on the StatCounter data. Do you see what I mean? There are of course many more problems with that. What kind of websites StatCounter is using to get hits? If we put hit counter on the website with Silverlight I don't think we will get many hits from Linux OS desktops, right? And even if the websites are getting hits from same amount of Linux OS and other OS desktops what will happen? StatCounter will randomly select hits from global pool and as data from USA will be more likely to get selected it will greatly skew the result and linux will always get under-represented. Lets say you have two crates: one with 10 pears and one with 250 tomatoes + 150 pears and you draw five times. However 3 times from first crate and 2 times from the second. You will have selected more pears than tomatoes. Even though there are 250 tomatoes and 150+10=160 pears. Is this reliable representation?"

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