What a difference two years makes. Tablet usage increased 282% between Q1 2011 and Q1 2013, with the number of consumers in the 31 GlobalWebIndex markets using mobile to get online growing by 60%.

Some key findings from GlobalWebIndex Stream Device Report—Q1 2013:

  • Android had the highest Q1 2013 mobile penetration, with 543.8 million users aged 16-64 throughout GWI markets. The OS does not yet dominate the tablet market, but is projected to account for 80% of smartphone users and nearly 70% of tablet users by 2016.
  • Despite iOS’ lead in key markets—including its 53% share of the US smartphone market—Apple owns just 16% of the global smartphone market. This leads us to theorize that iOS could become a secondary platform for app developers.
  • The tablet market is distinct from the smartphone market. Smartphone owners tend to be younger and slightly more male, but not fixated on income. In contrast, tablet users tend to be more middle-aged and male, but also wealthier than average.
  • Gaming remains the most popular app category, with Google Maps and Facebook among the most used types of apps globally.
  • Neither BlackBerry nor Windows 8 has achieved major platform dominance; despite its prominent product launch, Windows 8 accounted for just 9.8 million tablet users in Q1 2013.

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The Android OS is now the world’s most popular. Across surveyed users aged 16-64 in GWI’s 31 markets—87% of the global Internet population—543.8 million are registered Android users. This stands in stark contrast to the 144 million registered iOS users in the same demographic.

As of Q1 2013, a third platform has failed to dominate. Despite the Symbian legacy holding 73 million users across our 31 markets, that share is expected to fall significantly as these devices are replaced by newer phones.

But with 56 million BlackBerry and 48 million Windows Phone users, respectively, in Q1 2013—and 76 million smartphone users who don’t know what OS runs on their phone—we found lack of excitement surrounding BlackBerry and Windows running parallel to a low level of sophistication regarding smartphone usage.


Android dominance and lack of a third party smartphone platform are also apparent in the tablet market. With 156 million tablet users on Android in Q1 2013, the OS has surpassed the iPad’s 122 million users.

Both platforms account for over 75% of total tablet users, leaving no real room for a third primary platform. This is bad news for Windows 8; despite a heavily publicized launch, it accounted for just 9.6 million tablet users in Q1 2013.

Who is the global tablet user? Compared to the average global Internet user, our research found that tablet users are 57% more likely to follow current fashions, 55% more likely to say that their favorite brand plays a crucial role in their online experience, and 43% more likely to frequently tell friends and family about new product and services.

These findings support the fact that 31% of tablet users visited Amazon in the past month; in contrast, 20% of smartphone users visited the e-commerce giant, reiterating our stand that the tablet market is a platform driven by consumption.


Across smartphones and tablets, location and social apps are most prominent. 54% of all smartphone and tablet users used Google Maps in the past month as of Q1 2013, with Facebook coming in second at 38%.

Just as competition for a third party OS remains fierce, a battle remains for the third most popular mobile app. With 31%, 29% and 28%, YouTube, WeChat, and Google+, respectively, remain strong. But Twitter and Instragram were used by only 20% and 10%, respectively, of the Q1 2013 mobile market.

And just as Windows 8 saw disappointing results following much fanfare, Vine fared similarly. The video-sharing app received much publicity, but a mere 1% of use amongst the global mobile market.


Although the most popular online activities—specifically gaming—remain popular across devices, tablet users now drive online content consumption. Tablet and Android penetration in the global mobile market in Q1 2013 underlie the importance of a multi device strategy, as well as the importance of supporting Android.

Purchase our Q1 2013 Stream Global Device Report Here

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