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Mobile OS usage splits the world (chart)

Worldwide mobile OS usage

Where do you think Apple’s iPhone is the most popular? Where does Nokia’s Symbian phones dominate? How is it going for Android in different parts of the world? What about Blackberry?

We’re going to answer all of those questions and more in this article, which will closely examine mobile OS usage across the world.

To put together this report, we have used mobile web usage statistics from StatCounter. The numbers are from the month of October 2010 and will therefore give you an up-to-date picture of the situation.

Worldwide mobile OS usage at a glance

Since these statistics are based on mobile web usage, the numbers won’t necessarily match the exact market share based on physical handsets, but rather the handsets that people use to access the Web.

Mobile OS market share based on web usage

Note, the iOS numbers in this article include the iPhone and iPod Touch, but NOT the iPad.

There are a couple of things to note here:

  • When looking at mobile web usage, the different parts of the world are led by either iOS or Symbian. Apple’s iOS leads mobile web usage in North America, Europe and Oceania, while Nokia’s Symbian leads in Africa, Asia and South America.
  • Worldwide, Symbian leads the pack. This is not surprising considering Nokia is the world’s largest maker of mobile phones. After Symbian comes iOS, Blackberry, Android, Sony Ericsson and Samsung, in that order.
  • Symbian’s weakest position by far is in North America.
  • Blackberry’s strongest region is North America, but it is still behind iOS there.
  • Android might be growing fast, but it’s still far from dominating any part of the world.

You may also wonder about Palm’s webOS (now owned by HP), but it hardly made a dent in the overall web usage so we didn’t include it. Perhaps the situation will change in the future, but for now it remains very much a niche mobile OS.

WinCE is pretty much universally dead. Windows Mobile reaches a couple of percent in a few countries, but that’s about it. We’ll see what happens with Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.

Top countries per mobile OS

Now that we have established how mobile usage differs across the world, let us have a closer look at exactly where each mobile OS has the strongest presence.

The mobile OS market share (based on mobile web usage) is shown next to each country in the lists below.

Top countries for iOS

Apple’s iOS is the leading mobile OS in 30 countries. We found 21 countries where more than half the mobile web traffic came from iPhone or iPod Touch. As we already mentioned, the mobile OS stats in this survey does not include the iPad.

  1. Canada, 83.7%
  2. Cuba, 77.2%
  3. Switzerland, 76.7%
  4. Australia, 72.5%
  5. Ireland, 69.7%
  6. New Zealand, 69.0%
  7. France, 67.4%
  8. Singapore, 64.6%
  9. Denmark, 64.3%
  10. Sweden, 61.6%

Barely outside this list are Japan (61.4%) and Belgium (61.2%). For those interested, and since it’s Apple’s home country, the United States came in at 35.2%.

Top countries for Android

We found only one country where Android accounts for more than 50% of the mobile web traffic, which is also the only country where Android is the leading mobile OS.

  1. South Korea, 78.3%
  2. Austria, 27.3%
  3. Taiwan, 26.5%
  4. Denmark, 25.3%
  5. Slovenia, 24.0%
  6. United States, 23.3%
  7. Netherlands, 21.7%
  8. Sweden, 21.3%
  9. Estonia, 16.8%
  10. Norway, 16.0%

Note that South Korea is the home country of Samsung, and their Android phones have clearly been very successful there. This means that the Samsung stats we show later are not entirely fair to Samsung, since some of it has clearly been swallowed up by the Android stats.

Top countries for Blackberry

Blackberry is the leading mobile OS in four countries, and tied with iOS in a fifth (the United Kingdom). Only one country had more than half of its mobile web traffic coming from Blackberry (see below).

  1. Dominican Republic, 57.1%
  2. Guatemala, 45.4%
  3. United Kingdom, 40.4%
  4. Colombia, 38.9%
  5. El Salvador, 37.54%
  6. United States, 32.0%
  7. Indonesia, 31.7%
  8. Saudi Arabia, 30.6%
  9. Panama, 29.2%
  10. Jamaica, 18.8%

Interesting enough, considering RIM is a Canadian company, it isn’t all that strong in its native Canada, where it accounts for a mere 3.6% of the country’s mobile web traffic.

Top countries for Symbian

Symbian is the leading mobile OS in more than 100 countries. We found more than 75 countries where it accounts for half or more of the mobile web traffic.

  1. Chad, 94.0%
  2. Libya, 93.9%
  3. Sudan, 92.9%
  4. Iraq, 90.1%
  5. Oman, 88.3%
  6. Jordan, 87.1%
  7. Egypt, 86.6%
  8. Somalia, 85.2%
  9. Mozambique, 84.4%
  10. Paraguay, 83.9%

This is of course very much in line with our findings last week regarding the amount of mobile web usage across the world. Nokia’s more affordable Symbian-based phones tend to be the most widely used phones in developing nations.

An interesting side note is that Nokia has almost no foothold in the US market. Symbian makes up a mere 1.36% of mobile web usage in the United States.

Top countries for Sony Ericsson

We found only one country where Sony Ericsson was the leader, Bolivia.

  1. Bolivia, 42.3%
  2. Malaysia, 35.3%
  3. Honduras, 30.9%
  4. Uruguay, 30.6%
  5. Costa Rica, 26.7%
  6. Cambodia, 26.6%
  7. Sri Lanka, 26.2%
  8. Sierra Leone, 26.0%
  9. Belarus, 23.8%
  10. Poland, 22.6%

Interesting enough, Sweden is supposed to be kind of a home market for Sony Ericsson (it’s the birthplace for the Ericsson part of Sony Ericsson), but it only makes up 7.6% of the country’s mobile web usage. Instead, Sweden’s mobile web usage is dominated by iOS and Android. Admittedly, some Sony Ericsson phones will be using Android (they’ve recently started selling Android phones), but still…

Top countries for Samsung

It should be noted that this list would probably be topped by South Korea if we judged solely by the Samsung brand. However, as we pointed out earlier, Samsung has largely been using Android lately.

  1. Namibia, 20.3%
  2. Gabon, 17.9%
  3. Guinea, 17.4%
  4. Swaziland, 12.7%
  5. Cameroon, 12.2%
  6. Congo, 11.4%
  7. South Africa, 11.3%
  8. Burundi, 10.5%
  9. Botswana, 10.5%
  10. Zambia, 10.1%

And since it’s so huge, we’ll mention that India comes in at number 11 with 9.5%.

A few additional observations

Here is a selection of things we thought were interesting about the mobile OS country statistics:

  • The United States is present in two of the top lists, the top 10 for Blackberry and for Android, but it’s not even close to breaching the top 10 for iOS.
  • Canada, in spite of being RIM’s home market, isn’t on the top 10 countries for Blackberry. Instead, it’s the number one country for iOS.
  • The iOS and Android top lists have two countries in common, both Scandinavian: Denmark and Sweden.
  • Android is incredibly popular in South Korea. We presume this is thanks to Samsung, which is Korean and has released several Android-based phones.
  • Blackberry actually has a stronger presence in the United Kingdom than it does in the United States.

On a side note, we were happy to see Sweden make two of these lists. As you may know, we here at Pingdom are Swedes.

Final words

It’s worth mentioning once again that this is market share based on web traffic, not number of units. That said, it still gives us some very interesting mobile market data that would be close to impossible to come over any other way.

When examining these numbers and especially the chart, you could be forgiven for thinking that Apple and Nokia have split the mobile world between them. That would of course be a bit simplistic, but it can’t be denied that Symbian phones completely dominate large parts of the world, while the iPhone and iPod Touch together seem to have carved out a very strong place alongside the giant that is Nokia.

Data source: StatCounter Global Stats.

A note on the country top lists: We didn’t include the very smallest countries (there are countries with populations counted in the thousands instead of millions) when we made the country top lists per mobile OS. We did this partly because they realistically represent such a tiny share of the market, and partly because it’s easy to get anomalous results since StatCounter’s sample base will be very small for those countries. The worldwide and regional numbers, however, include all countries.



36 comments
Moreishjules
Moreishjules

Can totally confirm the DR one: everyone, but everyone has a bb here. Go figure.

kizedek
kizedek

Does this web usage data include direct web connections through apps? Or, just actually mobile browser usage? On iOS, I spend a lot of time (and I know others do too) using specialized apps to connect to the web and websites: facebook, evernote, springpad, flipboard, invoicing and project management and other web services for free-lancers, news and media apps, social network games, etc., etc.

David
David

The iPhone is strongest where the population has relatively high disposable incomes and, perhaps more importantly, most of the wireless carriers offer the iPhone. In Canada all three major cell phone companies and some of their discount subsidiaries offer the handset.

Keith
Keith

@Vega I have used the browser on a Blackberry and it sucks. Browsing on an iPhone or iPod is certainly better, but browsing on a 3.5” inherently sucks anyway and that is why mobile stats are nothing but a blip in the web traffic stats. Stats that include tablets and iPads will show increasingly high numbers from here but they are not mobile devices. BlackBerrys still greatly outnumber iPhones in Canada so despite its dreadful browser Blackberry generates about 10x the traffic of iOS from what I see.

Pinaatti
Pinaatti

"Singapore is the 8th iOS country.. Imagine the population of Singapore, that’s almost everyone got an iPhone!?" This study has nothing to do with that. This study only tells which OSs creates most web traffic in different coutries. We all know from the US operator problems that one iPhone user can cause 100 times more web traffic than others while both are using web for something. Even mobile web browser market share gives quite different numbers than these.

Diego
Diego

Android rocks!

Deniz
Deniz

It is based on percentage, not actual figures Marwwin

Animal
Animal

If the iPod touch is counted as mobile web usage, surely then every single laptop or hand held device (Nintendo DS or PSP for example) in the world should be included in such data?

RIP Symbian
RIP Symbian

That's because Nokia makes plenty of cheap Symbian phones for developing countries. Some of the entry-level C series phones can connect to the Internet too: oh look another Symbian 'smartphone' for the statistics. If you take away all those phones and limit the comparison to those few Symbian flagship models churned out to grab market share from Apple/Google/RIM/MSFT etc, Symbian suddenly becomes insignificant. Symbian is dying a slow but sure death. Nokia has already shifted its focus to Meego for future high end devices. Other smartphone manufacturers are all ditching Symbian for Android.

Andre Richards
Andre Richards

So why exactly do we have to be subjected to endless hordes of sexless Android fanboys blathering on about Android killing iOS when their beloved OS doesn't even reach half the market penetration of iOS in any of these stats? Time for them to STFU already.

Rowan
Rowan

I don't think browser spoofing is at issue here. I think the numbers are solid. I'm in Australia, and most people have iPhones, or so it seems. My niece and nephews both have iPod Touches and use them on wifi for wikipedia, YouTube etc. They dot even own a computer, iPod touch is their computer. Anyway, I'd wager the percentage of the market who know how to, and regularly do, install another browser and spoof the user agent ID are insignificant. Most people don't even know the difference between a URL and a search, between Google and an ISP - most people don't really know what browser they're using.

Sum Buddy
Sum Buddy

Marwwin, if there are four cell phone users in Cuba, and three of them are using iPhones, that's 75%!

Space Gorilla
Space Gorilla

It's funny how the anti-Apple crowd refuses to believe how well iOS is doing. And remember, these numbers don't include the iPad. But wait, wait, if you just count the current iPhone model only in the US and compare it to all Android devices ever made then Android is winning, yay! What is it about Apple's success that makes some people's heads explode? There's lots of room for both iOS and Android. I see iOS as a sophisticated mobile computing platform, a whole ecosystem with great developers, apps, content. Android is one level down from that, I would call it a smartphone platform, but it has a long way to go to become a real computing platform like iOS. The open nature of Android and the fragmentation will prevent it from ever getting beyond the level of smartphone.

Vega
Vega

@Marwwin: Tourists from Europe and soldiers stationed at Guantanamo...

KenC
KenC

Essentially, Symbian is doing well in the BRIC countries, and iOS is doing well in the developed countries.

Paul
Paul

My first thought is that the data at StatCounter are completely flawed. I mean, how can a country like Japan, with nearly every person using mobile websites on a daily basis, not represented properly with the primary mobile platforms there? Seems to be measuring more foreign-language web use; probably ex-pats. StatCounter is not a valid instrument to be making these assumptions, it requires installation in a website, right? Seriously, how many Mongolian, Kenyan, etc. sites have this installed? Again, it is measuring folks in those countries visiting sites in countries like the US.

AlleyGator
AlleyGator

All of this data is based on StatCounter, whose data set is patently false. StatCounter's numbers for RIM market share in the US: United States, 32.0% Three months ago RIM was being rated at under 10% market share and declining by other research firms. There is no way that StatCounter's methodology does not have major flaws. While I applaud your pretty pictures, the data behind this is junk.

Vega
Vega

@Keith: This is a web traffic statistic. Have you ever used the browser on a Blackberry? And the one on an iPhone? There may be far more Blackberries in Canada, but almost nobody is using them to surf the web.

Fabrizio Van Marciano
Fabrizio Van Marciano

Interesting data, a little disappointed that Android has hardly touched the market.

Marwwin
Marwwin

CUBA 2nd place with iOS? How is this possible? Apple isn't even selling the devices in Cuba. And there are not many mobile phones in Cuba.

KenC
KenC

@LiewCF, this is %age web use in that country. It doesn't mean that Singapore has the 8th most number of iPhones. @Commonsense, I live in Maine, which is on the border with Canada, and yes, you CAN use gloves with a capacitive touch screen. Thin gloves. Just like you can hover your finger over a capacitive touch screen and trigger a response. You do realize that there are lots of countries that are just as cold as Canada, right? As for the data, it only measures web hits. As smartphones increasingly use apps to access the internet, those mobile OSes will be correspondingly under represented. Presumably, the iOS and Android OS, where most of the app usage takes place will be most impacted. Symbian, Blackberry, et al will be less impacted. Remember, this just measures webhits, not actual internet usage, as it ignores app access to the net.

Keith
Keith

There is defintely something wrong with that data. There is absolutey no chance that iOS is anywere close to having 83% of Canada's mobile traffic. Blackberry is by far the most dominate mobile OS in Canada and I see this in the logs myself. iPhones are desired in Canada but we have the most expensive cell plans in the world so iPhones are not very widespread at all.

Carydc
Carydc

Dude's Dude's Dude's, First this states this is Mobile Web Use right up front. This qualifies the iPod Touch as it is WiFi enabled and able to iOS web browse. Second the Opera issue is really a detractor of the numbers as guess what. It is not only on Symbian: S60, Windows Mobile, Android, Maemo (labs edition*), Java phones, Blackberry, iPhone. Notice something there? That includes ALL of the Major OS of the Survey. Now could that Skew the Numbers? Hmmmm. I think so. Especially since it can mimic iOS and iPhone so you can go to iPhone sites.....

Crawdaddct
Crawdaddct

I was wondering how they jacked up iOS past Blackberry. They included iPod Touch's. Which are not phones. It is only as mobile as the Wifi around you. So it also should have been taken out for a true review.

Alexander
Alexander

I don't see a word about Windows Mobile? It must be somethere between the top and the bottom.

CommonSense
CommonSense

This is a mostly irrelevant data set. How can you tell the difference between an iphone and an android/symbian/maemo/webos that is pretending to be an iphone so that they get a mobile page? I'm betting the numbers from Canada are not real iphone users. See, Canada is a mostly cold place. Apple's multitouch screen does poorly in the cold and doesn't respond to a gloved hand. Someone already mentioned the fact that opera mini users aren't counted. What's worse is that they could also be mentioned in the iphone users. Because, wait for it. Opera can browser spoof to be an iphone.

Srini Kumar
Srini Kumar

Wow!!!! Thank you!!!! Eyeopening !!! Wondering what India looks like alone ? Mostly Symbian ? - Srini TinyVox The Infinite Tape Deck

Sathya
Sathya

Mobile OS "Web" Usage would have been a better caption. Am sure the trends would be much much different if we are looking at the actual mobile OS Usage ...

Gert, South Africa
Gert, South Africa

Was the phones using Opera Mini detected? A large percentage of the non-smartphone browsing is done on Opera Mini. (I find it amazing that phones like the non-Symbian Nokia S40-phones do not feature on the list)

LiewCF
LiewCF

Singapore is the 8th iOS country.. Imagine the population of Singapore, that's almost everyone got an iPhone!? I am from Malaysia, the 2nd top country for SE. My 1st mobile is SE :)

Pingdom
Pingdom

@Animal: We could have included those, but they hardly make a dent.