Top 9 mobile web browsers in Africa. Opera and Nokia on the decline

L.S.M Kabweza Avatar

Yesterday, we posted an article about a report that Opera released recently which basically says is the most visited website in Africa via the Opera Mini web browser. But what most people looking at the information immediately ask is ‘just how much of the total mobile internet traffic in Africa does the Opera browser account for’?

An important questions indeed because if a significant number of mobile internet users use, say the Android ‘robot’ browser or the default browser on Nokia devices, then Opera’s stats may not represent the actual website preference of mobile internet users on the continent.

To help answer that key question, we thought we would pull some more stats, and this time it’s from StatCounter, a global internet traffic stats company that tracks such stats and more.

The data we pulled shows the top 9 mobile browsers in Africa (and Zimbabwe below) covering the last 12 months (August 2011 to July 2011)

The whole Africa first:


One clear thing from the graph is that while Opera has been on the decline the past 12 months, the browser is still very much the dominant one in Africa.  It currently accounts for 62% of the mobile browser market on the continent. The Nokia browser too has been on the decline, at least since December 2011, a period it lost about 4% market share to the other browsers.

And which browsers did Opera and Nokia cede market share to? The UC Browser and the Android robot.

UC Browser? Yes, UC Browser. The browser is made by a Chinese software company and is available (or easily installable and quite an efficient tool) on many low cost Chinese feature and ‘smartish’ mobile phones which have become quite popular in Africa and indeed contributed much to Africa’s mobile revolution. From just 0.1% browser market share August 2011, UC Browsers made a jump to 4% currently.

The Android robot gained market share from 2.7% in August 2011 to 6.5% in July 2012, also quite a significant gain. This is likely driven by the low cost value-for-money Android devices being pushed aggressively by Asian companies like Huawei and Samsung.

Other interesting trends:

  • Blackberry’s market share went down from 1.2% in August 2011 to 0.6 in July 2012. (not surprising really)
  • The iPhone market share went up from 3.1% in August 2011 to 4.6% currently.

Now to Zimbabwe:

zimbabwe top 9 mobile browsers

The Opera trend in Zimbabwe, unlike the rest of Africa, is one of growth; from 82% in August 2011 to currently commanding an impressive 85% of the mobile browser market share. Nokia, however is the same decline story, its browser is losing out here too and in the last 12 months shed some 3.7% market share.

Android and the UC browser have also been on the gain in Zimbabwe albeit not as much as for Africa combined; 0.8% to 1.9% and 0% to 2.6 respectively in the last 12 months.

Though not by much, the iPhone is losing mobile browser market share, from 1.5% to 1.4% in the period.

Here are more graphs that paint some interesting pictures about the mobile devices and browser market:


Please take a look at the methodology to understand better or deduce what the data represents. It is also important to note that in April 2012, StatCounter’s sample of mobile devices in Africa consisted of 44 million page views. Of those 1.5 million where for Zimbabwe. Other top countries are Nigeria, South Africa, Eqypt, Sudan and Kenya, which accounted for 17.9m, 6.9m, 4.6m, 3.5m and 2.1m page views respectively. You can read more about StatCounter’s sample sizes here.

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