Local mobile browser markets: UK

It’s instructive to take a good look at some local mobile browser market stats, as always by StatCounter. Today we treat the UK.

In this first European nation we study, 3 out of 20 website visits come from a mobile device. This 15% is the same as in upcoming research subjects US and Netherlands, and pretty much shows where the western developed world stands right now.

Safari has held close to half the market for years, and still rules supreme. Android WebKit has stalled at around one quarter, and the rise of Chrome will eat disproportionally into its share. But is this Google’s Chrome 29 or Samsung’s Chrome 18? For now I’m assuming it’s the latter.

The UK is a BlackBerry stronghold. Although the Canadian company has been losing market share everywhere for years, its starting position in the UK was so strong that it’s managed to keep more than 10% browser share to this very day. UK developers, make sure you have a BlackBerry available.

Opera’s share is quite a bit lower than in the developing nations we studied earlier. UK users have less need of proxy browsers that minimise bandwidth use and can run on cheap devices. This is typical for Opera: very high market share in developing countries where devices and bandwidth are expensive for the average consumer, but a very low share in developed nations where consumers have some money to spend. That’s Opera’s business model. Nothing to see here, move on.

IE is growing slowly but steadily, which is cool for Microsoft. The huge majority of these IE users will likely be Nokia Lumia users, which is cool for Nokia. Neither company has much reason for mobile joy nowadays, so let’s not begrudge them this small victory.

UC has gained a toehold in the UK. I’m not sure which market segment they’re serving — proxy browser users, of which there are few, or general Android users? Maybe Brits of Chinese extraction? It would be interesting to find out where UC’s growth in developed nations comes from.

Finally, Nokia. In the developing nations we studied earlier this definitely meant Nokia Xpress, the Gecko-based proxy browser that is a competitor for Opera Mini. In the case of the UK it might also mean the old Symbian WebKit browser. Unfortunately StatCounter does not distinguish between the two, and Nokia makes it more and more difficult to distinguish between them, too.

Mobile browser stats for the United Kingdom
Browser Q3 2013 ch Q2 2013 ch Q1 2013 ch Q4 2012
Safari 47% -1 48% 0 48% +4 44%
Android 25% -1 26% -2 28% +1 27%
BlackBerry 13% -1 14% -1 15% -6 21%
Chrome 5% +2 3% +1 2% +1 1%
Opera 4% 0 4% +1 3% 0 3%
IE 3% 0 3% +1 2% 0 2%
UC 1% 0 1% +1 - - -
Nokia 1% 0 1% 0 1% 0 1%
Other 1% +1 0 -1 1% 0 1%
Volatility 3% 4% 6%
Mobile 15% +1 14% 0 14% 0 14%

Other countries in this series: Nigeria | India | Indonesia | South Korea

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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