Mobile browser shares 2/4

We continue our survey of the mobile browser market shares of twelve countries: Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, South Korea, the UK, and the US. In all countries I studied the Q4 2010 aggregate stats and compared them to the Q3 ones. At the end of this article are some methodological notes.

We’ll continue to work in order of relative size of the mobile web. In part 1 we discussed Nigeria, India, and Indonesia, and in this part we treat the top-three developed nations: the US, the UK, and South Korea, where the mobile web accounts for respectively 6, 5, and 4% of total web traffic. Figures, as usual, come from StatCounter.

Where in part 1 the browser market was Opera-dominated, today we’ll see a totally different situation, with Android, Safari, and (in the US and UK) BlackBerry vying for the top position and Opera relegated to minor status.

The most important reason that Opera is a minor browser is that the users don’t need a proxy browser. They usually have quite decent data plans, and don’t see any reason to download a new browser to their phone.

Now that we’re entering a more complicated part of the market it’s time for more precise definitions:

Safari
iPhone and iPod Touch, which StatCounter counts separately. iPad not included.
Opera
Mini and Mobile combined; StatCounter doesn’t give separate stats. I estimate that Opera Mini takes about 90-95% of the total Opera market share; probably more in the developing countries.
BlackBerry
WebKit-based BB6 browser still marginal, but I have counted 5% of the BlackBerry score towards the WebKit total in developed countries. That’s probably a bit high right now, but it’ll be about right at the end of this year.
Android
This figure includes Android tablets.

US

Stats.

With 6% the US has the highest mobile share of the industrialised countries. (OK, I admit I did not check every single country, but I did check quite a few, and none of them were higher than the US’s 6%.)

It’s interesting that the US market in no way complies with the Big Picture pushed by the US blogosphere, where iPhone is dominant but threatened by #2 Android, and BlackBerry is irrelevant. I advise the iPhone and Android fans to shout louder: you aren’t being heard where it counts.

In fact. the US mobile browser market is a tight three-way race between Safari, BlackBerry, and Android, with the latter behind but showing the strongest growth. Right now it’s still Safari first, BlackBerry second, Android third, but if the present trends continue that order will be reversed by the end of the year.

Just like Android, BlackBerry is growing, though much more slowly than in Q1 2010. Safari, on the other hand, is declining: not because less people use iPhones, but because the non-iPhone part of the mobile web grows harder than the iPhone part.

So much for BlackBerry’s irrelevancy. It had one very real problem, though: the browser. With these figures in mind it becomes clear why a WebKit-based browser was a top priority for RIM. Their old browser is really crap.

Browser Share Change Remarks
Safari 34% -3
BlackBerry 33% +1
Android 24% +4
Opera 3% 0
NetFront 2% 0
Nokia 1% 0
Other 3% -2
WebKit 61% +3 Safari, Nokia, Android, 5% of BlackBerry
Mobile 6% +2 Highest for a developed country

UK

Stats.

The UK resembles the US, except that Android is a lot smaller and BlackBerry is the leading browser, having taken over from Safari in the past quarter.

Assuming that Android grows as quickly as in comparable countries, we can expect a three-way race in the UK, too. And the trends don’t favour Safari here, either.

Browser Share Change Remarks
BlackBerry 41% +5
Safari 38% -5
Android 10% +3
Nokia 4% -1
Opera 3% -1
NetFront 1% -1
Other 3% 0
WebKit 54% +2 Safari, Nokia, Android, 5% of BlackBerry
Mobile 5% +1 Mobile browsing as percentage of all browsing

South Korea

Stats.

South Korea, finally, has a totally different browser make-up. Android is at 82% market share, which is the highest share of any single browser in the twelve studied countries.

The total share of the mobile web went up by nearly 300% in the last quarter, and I think this enormous growth was caused by the Galaxy, which is wildly popular in Samsung’s home country. The other browsers have been decimated, and the miracle is that the iPhone stayed relevant at all.

Interesting, too, is that the Samsung browser (non-Android; mostly bada) is completely absent, where it is building a modest following in the countries we’ll treat in parts 3 and 4. Apparently bada doesn’t work for the Korean market. Or there’s one more methodological error.

I would like to have more information about South Korea.

Browser Share Change Remarks
Android 82% +21
Safari 14% -14 Halved
Nokia 1% -4 Decimated
Opera 1% -4 Decimated
Other 2% +1
WebKit 97% +3 Safari, Nokia, Android
Mobile 4% +3 Quadrupled

Methodology

I use StatCounter as a source. Links to the detailed sources are added to each country.

  1. I took the Mobile Browsers bar graph for Q4 2010 in the twelve countries.
  2. I ignored all browsers that had less than one full percentage point of market share, as well as StatCounter’s Other category.
  3. Unfortunately StatCounter gives only the nine top browsers, and counts iPhone and iPod separately. (And yes, that’s totally insane.) Thus, it may count browsers with more than 1% market share as Other. In most markets this does not matter, but I suspect it does in Mexico and especially Brazil.
  4. I added the iPhone and iPod Touch entries to come to the Safari share.
  5. I took the percentages and rounded them to the nearest whole point.
  6. That gave me the current browser market share which I show in the table.
  7. I gave my Other category all points that were still missing from the 100.
  8. I repeated the procedure for Q3, and calculated the change in market share for all browsers. Again, any change left was for the Other category.
  9. I repeated this procedure for Mobile vs. Desktop in the relevant period and the comparison period to get the Mobile browsing total and change.

Continue

In part 3 we’ll take a look at South America, China, and some absolute numbers.

This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer. You can also follow him on Twitter.
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