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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.

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