The Adobe Digital Index released its 2013 State of Mobile Benchmark Report today, which analyzes 150 billion visits to 1,500+ websites to provide an overview of how consumers are using mobile devices worldwide. In addition to trends in social media, video content consumption and ecommerce from the past 12 months, the State of Mobile Benchmark features key findings on which mobile operating systems and device manufacturers are helping drive the most web traffic globally.

Samsung sees the most growth amongst smartphone manufacturers

Europeans prefer Samsung devices more and more. Across the 19 European countries* we analyzed, nearly 30% of all smartphone browsing now occurs via a Samsung device—up 9 percentage points in the last year alone. However, consumers aren’t trading in their iPhones. Apple now drives nearly 48% of smartphone browsing (+4% YoY) in Europe.

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HTC is the third largest smartphone manufacturer in most European countries, but after that it’s anybody’s game. In fourth place Germans prefer Sony Ericsson, the French like Motorola, and consumers in the UK like to use their Blackberries to surf the web.

iOS & Android account for more than 90% of smartphone browsing

Both iOS and Android made gains as the smartphone operating system market continued to consolidate—adding 4% and 1% respectively to their share of browsing.

Europeans show slight differences in their preference for Android vs iPhone. The UK and France are similar to the US in their preference for iPhones (see trends for US smartphone operating systems), while Germans choose to browse via Android phones more often.

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Windows Phone, even after becoming the primary platform for all Nokia devices, has seen little usage growth. Its share of web browsing increased only half a percent to about 2% of all smartphone visits across Europe over the last year.

iPad (iOS) continues to dominate global tablet usage

Tablet browsing continues to grow at a faster rate than smartphones (tablets surpass smartphones) as they replace PCs for consumer computing. When it comes to tablet operating systems, regardless of country, consumers overwhelmingly prefer iOS to browse the web.  This is despite the recent proliferation of tablet devices and the number of less expensive tablets that are now available to consumers.

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Why this matters to marketers

When we set out to analyze smartphone and tablet usage patterns by operating system we hoped to see which new operating systems were gaining a strong foothold to help marketers know when to adjust their marketing tactics to account for them. We learned that in the case of both smartphones and tablets, it is very difficult for new operating systems to make inroads. Consumers have grown accustomed to both iOS and Android and switching costs are very high because both operating systems have well-developed app markets. Similar to the PC operating system marketplace of the ‘90s, the mobile operating system market today is clearly a two-horse race. Marketers with limited resources can confidently focus their efforts on optimizing for both iOS and Android so as not to ignore the vast majority of mobile consumers.

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Do you expect both Samsung and Apple to continue to grow this year or will one start to steal share from the other? Share your thoughts with me @tyrwhite and I’ll push out any additional insights we uncover.

*European countries include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

Read the full State of Mobile Benchmark report.

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