What the world's phone usage is in 2018 - Mixpanel
What the world’s phone usage is in 2018
Product Foundations

What the world’s phone usage is in 2018

Last edited: Mar 1, 2022
Jordan Carr

Last week we looked at mobile data trends in the United States state-by-state and then zoomed in on the US’s ten largest cities.

Today, we take a look at the data on a global scale. If you’re interested in how people across the globe  use their phones, this is the blog post for you. And if you don’t, expand your horizons; there’s a great big world out there.

One things to keep in mind about our dataset: Mixpanel is a US-based company, and our customer base reflects that. Currently, our data overrepresents the United States. As such, on occasion, I’ve included the data with the US excluded, to give a better sense of what the global trend looks like.

This is the Mixpanel mobile study’s look at the world’s mobile data from the first half of 2018.

iOS dominates the United States. Globally, it’s a different story

In the US, we saw that iOS has an overwhelming 65.54% market share. Internationally, the roles are reversed, with Android taking 61.85% of unique global events, a number that jumps all the way up to 70.15% if the United States is excluded. Broken down by region, Oceania (32.77%), North America and the Caribbean (47.76%), and Europe (57.89%), registered a number below the global Android percentage of 61.85%. South America (83.58%), Africa (79.92%), and Asia (78.12%) are all around 80% market share for Android.

As with the United States, Android and iOS were the only relevant operating systems globally. (Subtext: Apple and Google do well for themselves.)

In the global browser wars, Chrome is the one to beat

Unlike the US data–where Safari beat out the competition with 58.39% of all usage–Chrome is the world’s preeminent browser, with 51.82% market share, and 66.00% of the non-US usage. Right behind is Safari, which accounted for 42.59% of usage and 30.22% of non-US activity. Facebook, which was a solid 7.64%, with over 10% in several states, is weaker internationally, earning 5.60% of global usage and 3.89% of non-US market share.

(One important caveat: for these numbers, we only looked at Chrome, Safari and Facebook browsers, which means these numbers are a bit overstated by excluding all other browsers. But they give you a good sense of each of these browsers’ relative popularity.)

Chrome has above-average popularity in South America (83.20%), Africa (81.11%), Asia (71.45%), and Europe (63.37%), while being less popular in North America and the Caribbean (34.94%), and Oceania (33.74%).

Safari has higher than average popularity in Oceania (58.74%), North America and the Caribbean (57.32%), while being less popular than average in Europe (32.40%), Asia (24.61%), Africa (15.97%), and South America (12.14%). As with the US data, there is a strong correlation between Safari usage and iOS usage, and Chrome usage and Android usage.

Facebook has higher than average popularity in North America and the Caribbean (9.50%) and Oceania (7.50%), while having below-average popularity as a browser in South America (4.67%), Europe (4.22%), Africa (2.91%), and Asia (2.50%).

Globally, there is no dominant cell phone carrier

Whether or not cell phone service is a more “competitive” business is debatable, but there are certainly more companies operating in the space than in the mobile browser or operating system spaces.

The most popular US carrier, Verizon, is also the most popular cell carrier globally, but it accounts for a much smaller percentage of usage than in the US (5.6%). It’s closely trailed by Vodafone (4.22%), which was not a carrier with any notable American presence, AT&T (2.98%), Airtel (2.92%), T-Mobile (2.80%), Jio (2.72%), Idea (2.72%), BSNL (2.72%), Sprint (2.55%), Boost Mobile (2.52%), MetroPCS (2.52%), and Cricket (2.51%) are all the carriers with over 1% of market share.

Thanks for reading the 2018 Mixpanel mobile study, and keep an eye out for more data stories that show the way the world works at scale. We’re always interested in new ways to look at the aggregated data, so if you have an idea for how we can use Mixpanel data to craft compelling stories, let us know on Twitter @Mixpanel.

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