Opera: Mobile Search On The Rise, Google Still King Of The Hill

Opera, the Norwegian software company behind mobile browser Opera Mini, has released its latest State of the Mobile Web report, providing some interesting data points for a detailed look at the evolution of Web browsing on mobile phones.

Looking at global trends, Opera Mini’s nearly 25.4 million users (as measured in May 2009, up 8.4% from the month before and up 36% compared to May 2008) have viewed over 9.6 billion pages. Since April, page-views have gone up 11.0% and increased an amazing 227% since May 2008. Opera says Mini users generated nearly 160 million MB of data for operators worldwide in May 2009, and claims that that would be 1.5 PB worth of data if the company didn’t compress this data up to 90%.

As for mobile search, a number of interesting trends are notable. Apart from dominance of local players in some parts of the world (e.g. Biadu in China and Yandex in Russia), Google mostly leads the pack in mobile search across the globe. Opera Mini users in India and Nigeria are the biggest users of search portals. In India, 16.3% of page-views are from search portals, and users viewed an average of 63.7 search-portal pages per month. In Nigeria, 26.6% of page-views are from search portals, and users viewed an average of 49.6 search portal pages per month.

Taking a closer look at Southeast Asia, the company mentions the following key trends: the top 9 countries using Opera Mini in the region (Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Singapore, Cambodia and Laos) see continued growth. From May 2008 to May 2009, overall page-views in those countries increased 459%, while the number of unique users went up 119% during the same period. In this region, Google is the undisputed number one mobile search engine, followed by Yahoo. Also noteworthy: Facebook is on its way to challenge the leader in mobile social networking in Southeast Asia (that would be Friendster).

Full report and press release can be found here.