Gadgets & AppsMobile

Mobile Browser Use in Zambia: Opera Mini Grows others tank

Opera1Our partner blog TechZim recently had a piece on the top browsers in Zimbabwe. It got us thinking here to do a similar analysis for Zambia and  see how we compare. The results are, as can be seen here, similar at first glance.

Chart 1: Mobile Browser Growth – Zambia (October 2012 – 2013)

Data source: StatCounter.com

Opera came in tops at 75.75 percent, while Nokia and Android followed with 7.65 percent and 4.26 percent, respectively. The other browsers on the market had less than 3 percent share. Note that Opera has grown by 5.45 percent, the rest of the browsers have dipped or are flat by an average 0.5 percent.

We are now asking, what is fueling Opera Browser growth especially on mobile. Is it the high cost of internet? Is there a deliberate Marketing initiative to push advertising to other browsers? Have the partnerships struck up with operators such as Airtel Zambia and MTN Zambia paid off? With this we, mean the skinning of the Opera Browser and already customised launch screens? Is there any other change in the eco-system: device prices, OS, or data tariffs.

No significant market-wide data tariff changes have occurred in the last 12 months. No changes on a general level have occurred to lead to significant reductions in smartphones. Higher disposable incomes and the general increase in smartphone shipments has led to higher adoption of low-medium to high-medium end smartphones.

However, on the OS level we see a higher than average adoption of series 40 (30.41% this year compared to 30.01% TTLY). This is followed by unknown OS, at 19.74 percent (up from 14.64 percent). Quite notable is the fall for Android by 5.68% in September to 15.23 percent. This displaces them from the second slot they enjoyed last year. iOS and BlackBerry platforms clock in at 1.37 percent and 1.96 percent, signifying that few BlackBerry users are using their native browsers to connect to the web.

Chart 2: Mobile OS – Zambia (October 2012 – 2013)

Even though the correlation is significant, we can not assume causality. We infer the following:

  • Series 40 OS – has continued to dominate the market and is widely available on Nokia mid-tier handsets which are predominantly feature phones (dumb phones);
  • the high number of devices on mobile networks are Chinese made with no known name for their browsers (smuggled or imported in bulk into the market and can easily be found on any street corner);
  • Assuming that since Opera has a browser for each OS on the market from the Ovi Store, Google Play Store, and iOS – users who have installed the App are now using it more often – representing the annual growth of over 5 percent;
  • Smartphone adoption is low – on account of prices in excess of US$1, 000 – then either smartphone users are cost conscious (opting for Opera Mini, Onavo Extend and other data compressing apps to limit their bills or make their expensive data bundles last) or they are using their devices on wi-fi locations.

What other trends are you aware of as a mobile user of a feature phone or smart-phones that is currently driving your choice in the browser you use, the OS of your phone, and any other issue: brand name, date of release, price, and data tariffs as well as network operator of choice? Leave your input and feedback in the comments.

Charts: (C)TechTrends Analysis

Data source: StatCount.com