With the ongoing pandemic and the resulting home office / home study regulations, little is known about how people go online, especially with emphasis on local conditions. Based on recent student interactions, we give an estimation of the market shares of network providers, operating systems and web browsers.

This empirical mini-study analysis is based on n=495 unique interactions, or 3182 total interactions, of around 350 users in Switzerland. All users are young engineering students, a population of high interest from a market share analysis perspective. Some of the students use multiple network connections (e.g. roaming with notebook between university VPN and home network) or even multiple devices (e.g. checking documents quickly on the mobile phone and then working on them with the notebook or PC).

The study differentiates 5 operating systems groups, 3 web browser groups and 8 network provider groups (each including one pseudo entry for other/unknown). Some of the network providers are sub-providers, reducing the total groups to 5. The other/unknown group is quite large for the network providers, due to the high number of local providers including city-level fibre. Noteworthy is the complete absence of Linux from the operating systems. The absence of Edge and other browser variants can on the other hand be attributed to the basic level of differentiation; more details might be reported in a follow-up study.

Without further ado, the figure below contains the respective market share estimations in surface-proportional visualisation, including inter-relations between networks/OS and OS/browser.

Hence, the archetypical engineering student in 2021 uses Swisscom (34%) or UPC (29%) to browse with Chrome (70%) on Windows (83%). Is such a majority setup a concern, for instance from a security perspective? Does this setup fulfil the needs of our students in remote or hybrid teaching settings? How will the numbers look in some years from now? These questions can now be discussed based on data.