Q4 2011 mobile browser stats for 12 countries 1/2

It’s time for the quarterly mobile browser statistics from 12 selected countries according to StatCounter.

This post treats the first six countries; the second six will appear next week. Your donation for keeping this series up and running would be much appreciated.

Headlines

UC note

UC is the most popular browser in China. It used to be a proxy browser with its own rendering engine, but the good people at UC are switching over to WebKit, and also to a mixed proxy/full browser, similar to Opera Mobile with Turbo or the Amazon Silk browser.

StatCounter made various changes to its UC detection, since it turned out that UC’s UA strings were more complicated than originally thought. Previously it was often misdetected as a Nokia browser; sometimes as other browsers, most likely Opera.

Thus the fact that it shows up is not surprising. What is surprising, however, is that it turns out to have 4% of the US market. I didn’t expect that at all, and am wondering on which phones it runs.

Overview

Here’s an overview of the twelve countries. I changed the Top Browser column a bit. From now on the largest browser must have at least 5% more market share than the second browser in order to count as top browser. If that’s not the case I count the country as a tie for all browsers that are within 10% of the largest.

Overview of mobile browser stats for Q4 2011 in twelve countries.
# = number of browsers with 5% or more market share
Country Mobile share ch Top browser # Volatility Remarks
Nigeria 54% +8 Opera 2 3% More than half of traffic is mobile
India 38% +5 Opera 4 13%
South Korea 20% +4 Android 2 3%
Indonesia 16% +5 Opera 3 11%
US 8% 0 Tie 3 8% Safari, Android
UK 8% 0 Safari 3 8% Safari overtakes BlackBerry
Mexico 5% -1 Tie 5 17% Safari, Opera, Android, Nokia
Brazil 4% 0 Nokia 6 12%
China 4% 0 UC 4 10%
Netherlands 4% 0 Tie 3 5% Safari, Android
Egypt 4% +2 Opera 3 10%
Poland 2% +1 Opera 4 6%

As usual I give the full browser stats, whether desktop or mobile, for countries that are at 20% mobile web or above. This quarter that means Nigeria, India, and South Korea, which barely passed the threshold.

Nigeria

In Nigeria mobile browsing is now larger than desktop browsing. This is not a surprise to anyone who’s following the numbers, but it’s still cause for joy and wonder. The new web is here, and it doesn’t resemble the old one.

Browser-wise little changes. Opera loses a bit, but that’s mostly because it can’t gain much more market share. UC turns out to have a marginal presence in Nigeria.

Q4 2011 mobile browser stats for Nigeria
Browser Q4 2010 ch Q3 2011 ch Q2 2011 Remarks
Opera 88% -2 90% 0 90%
Nokia 6% 0 6% +1 5%
UC 2% +2 - - - Misdetect
Bolt 1% -1 2% -1 3% WebKit-based proxy browser
Other 3% +1 2% 0 2%
Volatility 3% 2%
WebKit 7% -1 8% 0 8% Nokia, Bolt
Mobile 54% +8 46% +7 39% Mobile browsing as percentage of all browsing

All Nigerian browsers

If we regard the entire Nigerian browser market we see Opera vigorously winning share from Firefox and IE. Of course, what’s happening here is the mobile expansion which hits the Mozilla and Microsoft browsers hardest because they’re the largest non-mobile browsers.

Q4 2011 Nigeria ALL browsers, desktop and mobile
Browser Q4 2011 ch Q3 2011 ch Q2 2011 Remarks
Opera 49% +6 43% +6 37% Mostly from mobile
Firefox 20% -4 24% -2 26%
IE 15% -4 19% -4 23%
Chrome 6% -1 7% 0 7%
Nokia 3% 0 3% +1 2%
Safari 2% 0 2% +1 1% Desktop
UC 1% +1 - - -
Bolt 0 -1 1% 0 1%
Other 4% +3 1% -2 3%
Volatility 9% 8%
WebKit 11% -2 13% +2 11% Chrome, Safari, Nokia

India

The Indian mobile browser market is impacted heavily by the changes in UC’s detection: the Chinese browser turns out to have 11% all in all; a share it wins from Nokia and Opera. If we discount this change very little happens.

India has an immense long tail, but right now I don’t see any of these small browsers making the jump to a mid-sized on. One could expect Android to do so, certainly since in India cheap Androids are becoming more popular, too, but so far that isn’t happening.

Q4 2011 mobile browser stats for India
Browser Q4 2011 ch Q3 2011 ch Q2 2011 Remarks
Opera 48% -3 51% -6 57%
Nokia 21% -8 29% +3 26%
UC 11% +11 - - - Misdetect
NetFront 8% -1 9% +4 5%
Dolfin 2% 0 2% +1 1%
Android 2% 0 2% +1 1%
Samsung 2% 0 2% +1 1%
Jasmine 1% 0 1% 0 1%
Obigo 1% 0 1% 0 1%
Safari 1% 0 1% 0 1%
Bolt 1% 0 1% 0 1% WebKit-based proxy browser
Sony Ericsson 0 -1 1% +1 0
Other 2% +2 0 -5 5%
Volatility 13% 11%
WebKit 27% -8 35% +5 30% Nokia, Android, Dolfin, Safari, Bolt
Mobile 38% +5 33% +6 27% Mobile browsing as percentage of all browsing

All Indian browsers

The overview of all Indian browsers, whether desktop or mobile, holds little of interest. Opera and Nokia continue to grow because of the growth of mobile, and for the same reasons Firefox and especially IE lose a bit. Chrome manages to stay stable because of its growth in desktop.

Q4 2011 India ALL browsers, desktop and mobile
Browser Q4 2011 ch Q3 2011 ch Q2 2011 Remarks
Chrome 21% 0 21% +1 20%
Firefox 21% -1 22% -2 24%
Opera 20% +1 19% +2 17% 2% from desktop
IE 17% -4 21% -5 26%
Nokia 8% -2 10% +3 7%
UC 4% +4 - - -
NetFront 3% 0 3% +2 1%
Safari 1% +1 0 0 0 Desktop
Dolfin 1% +1 0 0 0
Android 1% +1 0 0 0
Samsung 1% +1 0 0 0
Other 2% -2 4% -1 5%
Volatility 8% 8%
WebKit 31% +3 28% +2 26% Chrome, Nokia

South Korea

South Korea crosses the 20% mobile threshold. Android goes down a little in favour of Safari, but the South Korean mobile browser market remains a monoculture.

Q4 2011 mobile browser stats for South Korea
Browser Q4 2011 ch Q3 2011 ch Q2 2011 Remarks
Android 92% -3 95% +2 93%
Safari 7% +3 4% -2 6%
Other 1% 0 1% 0 1%
Volatility 3% 2%
WebKit 99% 0 99% 0 99% Safari, Android
Mobile 20% +4 16% +6 10% Mobile browsing as percentage of all browsing

All South Korean browsers

Since South Korea passed the 20% threshold I will henceforth publish its aggregate browser stats. We see IE losing hugely, far more than the growth of mobile browser can account for. Apparently IE is in trouble on the desktop, too, and it’s mainly Chrome that profits.

With an 18% overall market share Android is the second-largest browser in South Korea, period. Also, this is the first set of stats where both Safari desktop and Safari iOS are above 1% of the overall market.

Q4 2011 South Korea ALL browsers, desktop and mobile
Browser Q4 2011 ch Q3 2011 Remarks
IE 67% -9 76%
Android 18% +3 15%
Chrome 7% +3 4%
Firefox 3% +1 2%
Safari 2% +1 1% desktop
Safari 1% 0 1% iOS
Other 2% +1 1%
Volatility 9%
WebKit 28% +8 21% Chrome, Safari, Safari, Android

Indonesia

After two quarters of curious decline, the Indonesian mobile market share is growing again. I expect it to hit the 20% threshold in Q1. I’m not sure why Indonesia stalled for a while, but the numbers suggest that a fundamental shift took place. Unfortunately I don’t really understand the nature of that shift.

It is very curious that the return of mobile growth coincides with the evaporation of BlackBerry’s market share. BlackBerries are supposed to be very popular in Indonesia, and until now the stats bore that out. No more, though. 3% BlackBerry, where in summer it ws 28%.

Do these two trends have anything to do with each other? Anything is possible, but I don’t see a clear relation. The fall of the BlackBerry browser can also be explained if people still use the devices but have shifted to Opera Mini for their browsing, probably due to cost concerns. That sounds logical, but I have no evidence whatsoever.

The Indonesian market remains mysterious.

Q4 2011 mobile browser stats for Indonesia
Browser Q4 2011 ch Q3 2011 ch Q2 2011 Remarks
Opera 66% +6 60% +11 49%
Nokia 19% +2 17% +3 14%
Android 5% -1 6% +3 3%
BlackBerry 3% -7 10% -18 28%
NetFront 3% -1 4% +1 3%
Safari 1% 0 1% +1 0
UC 1% +1 - - -
Bolt 0 -1 1% 0 1% WebKit-based proxy browser
Dolfin 0 -1 1% +1 0
Other 2% +2 0 -2 2%
Volatility 11% 20%
WebKit 25% -1 26% +8 18% Nokia, Android, Bolt
Mobile 16% +5 11% -1 12% Mobile browsing as percentage of all browsing

US

The same dramatic fall of BlackBerry is visible in the US stats. 21 to 8% in six months is not very good. And here there is no corresponding Opera Mini growth, so at the very least BlackBerry users surf a lot less all of a sudden — or the number of users is declining.

In the top two Safari takes a slight leap ahead of Android, and here, too it seems that Android’s era of huge growth has ended.

Finally, this quarter’s mystery is UC, which turns out to have 4% market share in the US. I have no idea why, or on what kind of phones it runs. I hope to gather more data elsewhere.

Also, IE remains on the radar. That’s good news for Microsoft. Vigorous growth would have been better, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards.

Finally, the growth of mobile as a whole seems to stall, as it does in every other developed country except for South Korea. This may be a temporary fluke, but it is something to keep an eye on.

Q4 2011 mobile browser stats for the United States
Browser Q4 2011 ch Q3 2011 ch Q2 2011 Remarks
Safari 42% +3 39% +3 36%
Android 39% +1 38% +6 32%
BlackBerry 8% -6 14% -7 21%
UC 4% +4 - - -
Opera 2% 0 2% 0 2%
Nokia 1% -2 3% -1 4%
IE 1% 0 1% 0 1%
NetFront 1% 0 1% 0 1%
Sony PSP 1% 0 1% 0 1%
Other 1% 0 1% -1 2%
Volatility 8% 9%
WebKit 82% +1 81% +7 74% Safari, Nokia, Android, 10% of BlackBerry
Mobile 8% 0 8% 0 8%

UK

More good news for Microsoft: IE also appears on the radar in the UK.

More bad news for BlackBerry: it goes down here, too, although not quite as dramatically as in Indonesia and the US. BlackBerry remains a strong second, but does not directly compete with Safari any more. Besides, one has to wonder what will happen next quarter.

Android continues growing. It has always had a curiously low market share in the UK, and it seems it has some catching up to do.

Q4 2011 mobile browser stats for the United Kingdom
Browser Q4 2011 ch Q3 2011 ch Q2 2011 Remarks
Safari 41% +4 37% -1 38%
BlackBerry 32% -6 38% -1 39%
Android 20% +3 17% +3 14%
Opera 3% 0 3% 0 3%
Nokia 2% 0 2% -1 3%
IE 1% +1 0 0 0
NetFront 0 -1 1% 0 1%
Other 1% -1 2% 0 2%
Volatility 8% 3%
WebKit 66% +7 59% 0 59% Safari, Nokia, Android, 10% of BlackBerry
Mobile 8% 0 8% +1 7% Mobile browsing as percentage of all browsing

Part 2 discusses the other six countries.

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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