Opera Mini Now Has 169 Million Users, 56% Of Them Only Use The Mobile Web

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On the desktop, Opera‘s browser is only a minor player compared to Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari, but as a mobile browser, Opera competes head-to-head with Apple and Google. Worldwide, depending on which statistics you believe, it is either just ahead of the competition or a close runner-up. In developing countries, Opera is generally far ahead of the competition. According to an interesting new white paper by Opera, in which the company took a look at how its users around the world actually use the browser, it’s hard to underestimate the importance of mobile browsing in developing countries.

The study, which was conducted between November 2010 and November 2011, found that globally, 56% of Opera users and 43% of those who use another browser only access the Internet via their mobile devices. In some countries, including Egypt (72%), Bangladesh (69%), Brazil (65%) and South Africa (61%), these numbers for Opera users are significantly higher. At first glance, these numbers look very high. Given that traditional wired Internet access in many of these countries is rather limited, though, mobile phones are often the easiest and cheapest way to get online for many of these users.

This being an Opera report (so take this data with a grain of salt), the company also compared what its users do on the mobile web to users who use other browsers. The company, for example, found that its users are 35% more likely to purchase music and games via their mobile devices than those who use another browser. In most countries, Opera users are also younger, better educated and report higher satisfaction with their mobile Internet experiences. According to the report, these users are also “eight percentage points more likely than average to spend more than an hour online in one session and 12 percentage points more likely than non-Opera users.”

As for Opera itself, the company also today announced that it now has 168.8 million Opera Mini users (up 64% from March 2011). These users viewed over 117 billion pages. That’s up 96% from last year and up 8.1% compared to February 2012. In total, Opera Mini users generated over 1,918 million MB of data worldwide.