As a web developer, one of the most interesting things that I get to do is see how people use GlobalGiving. We have a big screen display that gives us updates on daily donation totals and recent donations, and during peak traffic spikes, I’ll log onto the servers and watch what’s going on in real time. Like most web sites, we also collect aggregate statistics about our users so that we can improve our site. The other day I was curious to see which browsers (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari) our visitors are using and what it means for our design and testing plans. The results were surprising!
First, I took a look at which browsers our visitors use. Like most web sites, Internet Explorer is the most popular browser. GlobalGiving has a slightly larger Firefox user base than the general Internet, but it’s only a few percentage points higher. Safari comes trailing in around 5%. That’s all in line with general internet browser share statistics.
Then I took a look at dollars per visitor broken down by browser type. For people not involved in e-commerce, dollars per visitor is calculated by taking the total amount of money raised on your site and dividing it by the total number of unique visitors to your site. This gives you a rough idea of how much each person is likely to give/spend on your site. I expected that the dollars per visitor would be similar for each browser. After all, the desire to change the world isn’t related to your choice in technology… or is it?
As you can see, although the Safari users only account for a small percentage of our total visitors, they give a lot more. A Safari 3.0.4 user will give $3.42 while the normal IE 7.0 user will only give $0.74!!! (NOTE: We don’t yet have enough data on Safari 3.1 to include it in this chart.)
Since Apple recently released Safari for Windows, I thought I’d do a similar break down by operating system. Sure enough, the average Mac OS X user will give $2.53 while a Windows XP user will only give $0.97 and a Windows Vista user will give $0.58!
Why the big difference? Perhaps Mac users have more disposable income and are able to give more to charity. But if that were the case, I’d expect the Windows Vista users to be giving more than the XP users, since Vista requires an up-to-date computer to run well. Perhaps Mac users tend to be more internet savvy and are more comfortable with giving online, but I’d also expect anyone using Linux to be comfortable with the internet, yet they have one of the lowest rates that we’ve tracked.
It’s hard to say what it is about Mac users that causes them to give more. Perhaps they just think different.