As Opera announced that it has added a free, unlimited VPN to its Android browser, we thought it a good time to delve into the most popular mobile browser apps currently on the market.
Users will evaluate whether it’s worth switching from their device’s default browser to one that offers faster speeds in poorly connected areas, improved privacy, or even a full VPN to mask your location and tracking.
Using Priori Data’s proprietary app data intelligence platform, the following estimates show total downloads for the last 12 months. Our data analysis looks at apps installed by the user over that period (rather than pre-installed browsers) to examine the state of the market under Google’s dominance.
By creating a watchlist of the top browsers and VPN apps around the world, we can see some interesting trends in global usage:
As expected, when looking at all downloads of browsers across the Apple App Store and Google Play, Chrome and the Google app lead the pack with a 41% share of the top 10. Interestingly, Opera also perform well across the world with several positions and a combined share of 28% of downloads.
As we break down the numbers between the app stores, Google’s grip on the market is largely with iOS users, whereas Opera Mini outstrips all others in the Play store.
Closer examination reveals that many developing nations rely on Opera Mini as their browser of choice. Clearly this browser has been designed for users with poor connectivity, who’s cost-consciousness is a key driver for the product, as their app blurb explains, “Opera Mini is a lightweight and safe browser that lets you surf the Internet faster, even with poor Wi-Fi connection, without wasting your data plan. It blocks annoying ads and lets you easily download videos from social media, all while providing you personalised news.”
Turning attention away from installs to Daily Active Users in the global online population shows that Google remain a clear front runner on global usage, with 89% share of daily online access.
Although only accounting for a small proportion of users in this list, Turkey’s Yaani browser signifies a potential sign of things to come with localised browser options for entire countries, languages and cultural groups.
So although Google’s vice-like grip on mobile browsing isn’t exactly over, there are signs of changes coming. As users in developing countries gather pace in their browsing habits, expect a shift in the balance of power. Clearly there’s appetite for apps that can offer greater privacy, faster load times on poor bandwidth and a more local experience - something that Google’s product teams will need to address for the future.