Mobile and Tablet Browser Trends: Global competition but not in the UK

Posted by Alexander Dunn on 19 May 2016

Having looked at desktop browser trends in my last blog I thought it would be worth touching on what is going on in the mobile and tablet worlds. I've chosen to put these two together here as both major tablet OSes are also the major phone OSes, and with phablets blurring the distinction it seems to make more sense.

As you can see here; according to Statcounter, things are much more competitive globally than on the desktop. This graph doesn’t show the full story however as Statcounter only started recording Samsung Internet (the default browser on its flagship phones) from 23rd February 2016 hence its sudden rise (and corresponding drop in the recorded use of Chrome?)

One name that you might not recognise here is the UC Browser produced by the Chinese mobile Internet company UCWeb. Their strength in the world’s largest mobile markets (China, India and Indonesia) makes them real competition to Apple and Google. Indeed, it is only Apple’s dominance in tablets (>60%) that keeps them ahead of UCBrowser in this chart.

With Chrome at 33% and Safari at 22%, it is good to see some strong third party browsers with UC Browser at 17% and Opera at 10%.

Looking at the picture here in the UK however, it’s all about the big players. Safari’s lead of 49% to Chrome’s 27% narrows to 41% to 31% if we cut it to mobile only, but outside of those, only Samsung Internet and the older Android browser even break 5%.

Indeed if you are looking for any kind of trend in the devices, you can forget the tablet market that seems steady with iPads three times more active than Android tablets.

In the mobile world however, having drawn level with iOS at the end of last year, Android is now starting to open a gap. Apple might still be making the money, but even here in the UK, Android mobiles are now visiting more webpages than iPhones. Comparing the last two graphs also shows that hardly anybody installs a 3rd party browser in the UK. I think it might be time for me to try out Opera or UC Browser.