Every quarter we do a Flash player penetration study to see how many people are using Flash Player. We post these statistics publicly and update the page regularly. Occasionally, I provide some additional color on these stats.
The default figure you hear most often is right at the top of the page: “Flash content reaches 99% of Internet viewers.” Sometimes you’ll read 98 percent, sometimes 99…it fluctuates between those two numbers because we check penetration in various countries. (See below.) This main stat is the total percentage of people that can view content targeted for Flash Player 9 and below on web-connected desktops/laptops/netbooks. Yet, the more telling stats for developers are the details on Flash Player version penetration. The numbers for Flash Player 9 and 10 are very close, so you can pretty much count on the majority of users having Flash Player 10 at this point. Yes, the Flash Player engineering team likes to know just how popular the software is, but more importantly Flash Platform developers need to know what versions of Flash Player people are using so they know when they can take advantage of all the latest capabilities and reach the widest possible audience.
The penetration study completed in December 2010 shows:
– 85.3% of people in mature markets are using the current version, Flash Player 10.1
– 87.4% in US/Canada and 86.2% in Europe
– 82.4% in emerging markets^
The September 2010 Flash Player 10.1 penetration numbers broke all the previous rate records with 74% mature market penetration in just 3 months. The December 2010 study validates those statistics: as FP 10.1 penetration in mature markets is now over 85% and over 82% in emerging markets^. That’s 10 percent growth in 3 months. At this rate, Flash Player 10.1 is expected to be at over 90% penetration before summer.
Our experience tells us that 80% penetration of Flash Player is a tipping point — at 80%, Flash developers are confident that they can start using new features and the majority of people can access their content with ease. The latest study shows that developers can take full advantage of all the latest features of Flash Player 10.1. Perhaps even more importantly is the rate at which these numbers were achieved.
How do we get these statistics?
We rely on Millward Brown to manage the penetration study, which has been in place since Flash Player 3. You can read about the methodology behind the numbers.
What about mobile?
The Millward Brown study is specific to “desktop” penetration of Flash Player. However, we are broadening our efforts to measure the proliferation of Flash Player on other devices as it’s beginning to rollout on many new smartphones, tablets and TVs. There have been over 3 million downloads of Flash Player 10.1 from the Android market since its initial release last summer and we expect to provide updated numbers soon.
Need a rundown of the Flash Player features you know that the overwhelming majority of desktop and laptop users can now experience? Check out Paul Betlem’s post.