In a sideways blow to Apple, Windows Phone and Blackberry, Android is now the dominant operating system of mobile users worldwide.

Android use has climbed from 27% in 2012 to 65% in 2013. An even more impressive figure is the 270% increase in Android use since the end of 2011. 

These figures come from the Q4 2013 market research study by GlobalWebIndex (GWI), in which 170,000 respondents were interviewed in 32 markets, representing 89% of the global internet population.

Here are some more fascinating stats from the study involving device ownership and privacy.

Android's world domination

Globally, South Korea (81%), China (75%) and Malaysia (75%) had the biggest increase in Android uptake.

iOS is only used by 20% of the global mobile internet audience, however it does hold the greater than average market share in the US (42%), Australia (40%) and Canada (37%).

Android also rules for tablet users, with 53% using Android tablets, compared to 40% using iOS.

Samsung dominates for handset sales

Samsung is the most popular handset with 35% global penetration, followed by Nokia (22%) and iPhone (19%).

The study seems to mirror Gartner Inc's figures that Samsung sold 300m smartphones last year, which is 31% of the nearly 1bn sold globally, and double that of Apple.

Samsung's dominance is understandable, as it was the most shared brand of 2013 according to Unruly and frankly the company owns social video

Nokia saw a steady rise between Q3 and Q4, which could be naturally attributed to the season, however iPhone saw a decrease on quarter-over-quarter usage.

Are we falling out of love with iPhone? The resistance to Apple's latest iOS7 update and its various UX problems would suggest so. 


54% of tablet users say they share their device with at least one other person. Worldwide the most generous country is Argentina, with a remarkable 73% sharing their tablets with other people.

Nearly a quarter of the global population (23%) share their mobile phones with other people.

It seems that mobile phone users are fine with sharing their devices with people they know and therefore trust, however it’s a different matter when it comes to larger forces. 

Possibly thanks to the recent furor surrounding the NSA, 56% of respondents claim that they feel the internet is eroding their privacy.

The study also reveals that 28% of people use virtual private networks (VPN) or proxy servers when they go online. Is this to protect themselves from spies, or is it in fact to access better entertainment?

It turns out that in fact 52% of respondents say they use VPNs to access (either by download, stream or torrent) content from around the globe that they are blocked from enjoying in their own countries.

In the UK there’s a much more heightened worry about internet privacy, as David Moth’s article reports 89% of British users are worried about online privacy

Here's the full GlobalWebIndex study. 

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 21 February, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (4)


Dominic Brenton

You ask 'Are we falling out of love with iPhone?' and comment 'The resistance to Apple's latest iOS7 update and its various UX problems would suggest so.' This makes me wonder whether adoption of Android would have been so strong if iOS7 had been better executed. Was this Apple's Windows Vista moment?

over 4 years ago



The increased market share from Android has been helped by some great new handsets being released by HTC, Sony and especially Samsung. These have also been backed up by some huge marketing campaigns that have given Android based devices a great amount of exposure.

One thing to remember about the Android platforms dominance is the fact that there are a huge amount of manufacturers who produce handsets, from low end, to mid and high end handsets, so all levels of users in the market are catered to, something that Apple have not harnessed yet.

over 4 years ago

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, Founder and Author at Fresh Relevance

The figures don't look right.

On the sales chart, Nokia is shown as consistently selling more than 20% of mobile handsets, and in the past we know it got even higher sales, so its usage should be more that 20% too.

But on the usage chart, Android or iOS (neither of which are supported by Nokia) are shown with a combined 85% share, leaving only 15% for everyone else, including e.g. a few percent for Blackberry. So Nokia must be about 10% or less.

over 4 years ago


Recruitment Consultant

Your thought about the information about the mobile and its relationship with people is impressive.I hope the graphs and charts you have posted are correct !!

over 4 years ago

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