April 28, 2003

NPD new media study for March 2003

Macromedia has just published the March 2003 numbers for Shockwave and Flash plugin penetration. Always useful in pitching and planning projects that employ these technologies, this time around we also have a Flash MX penetration prediction for June and a couple charts covering Flash Player bundling with browser and OS.

But I'm getting ahead of myself—on to the numbers: Flash Player 6 continues to take over the world, coming in at just under 84%. Shockwave for Director 8.5.x holds at 44%, essentially unchanged since last quarter.

Macromedia's published findings from the study again show interesting technographic information for US users, including OS, browser platform, connection type and location, length of experience with the web and age of computer used.

Here's a sampling, compared against the published numbers from last year:

-Top computing platform 2002: Win '98 (39%)
-Top computing platform 2003: WinXP (31.8%)

-Top Win browser 2002: IE 6.x (35%)
-Top Win browser 2003: IE 6.x (40.2%)

-Top Mac browser 2002: IE 5.x (1.6%)
-Top Mac browser 2003: Other (6.5%)
Could "other" be Safari or Camino?! This number is somewhat surprising. I'm a little surprised that the study only asked the participant what browser they were using instead of empirically gathering the data by examining the userAgent.

Perhaps more surprising is that 22.5% of users in this study didn't know what browser they were using. Possibly another example of why it's dangerous to overestimate the end user's familiarity with the tools we take for granted?

-Top Connection method 2002: 56k modem (39.9%)
-Top Connection method 2003: DSL/Cable modem (40.1%)
Another 14.2% reporting using a T1 or faster plus the 2.5% of ISDN users in the study bring the total broadband user numbers to a whopping 56.8% with 56K modem users accounting for 33.2%.

Still yet more useful info:

-Tops in connection location: Home (69.7%), Work (26.6%)
-Tops in experience on the web: 5 or more years (66.7%)
-Tops in age of computer: Older than 2 years (39%)
Note that 1 to 2 year old computers come in at 25.5%

You can check the methodology employed by NPD and an example of their survey is also available for the curious or skeptical.

Macromedia really ought to be commended for publishing this research and I encourage everyone to spend some time looking over the data.

Posted by Lewis Francis at April 28, 2003 9:00 PM
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