GlobalWebIndex (GWI), the world’s largest ongoing multi-market research study into the digital consumer interviewing 170,000 respondents annually in 32 markets representing 89% of the global internet population, today launches its GWI Device, Q4 2013 study.


The disappointing result for all Apple, Windows Phone and Blackberry fans is: Android is the dominant mobile operating system climbing from 27 % to 65 % in 2013 and an impressive 270 % increase since the end of 2011. When looking at different markets South Korea (81%), China and Malaysia (both 75%) had the biggest surge in people using Android operated phones. iOS is only used by 20% of the global mobile internet audience but it has a much greater than average market share in the US (42%), Australia (40%) and Canada (37%). Tablet operating systems are also topped by Android with 53 % versus 40 % for iOS.


Other findings included the most popular handset being Samsung with 36% global penetration, followed by Nokia with 22% and iPhone with 19%.


Device sharing is hugely popular amongst tablet users with more than half (54%) sharing their device with at least one other person, topped by Argentina with 73%. Globally, nearly a quarter (23%) share their mobile phones.


Privacy is also a growing worry amongst internet users with 56% of respondents claiming that they felt the internet is eroding their privacy. 28% of people use VPNs (virtual private networks) or proxy servers when they go online. The most popular reason among this group is to access better entertainment content (52%).


Jason Mander, head of trends at GlobalWebIndex said: “It’s clear that device sharing is a major phenomenon, something which has big implications for how we understand the total number of people using the internet. This is especially common for tablets but it’s also happening with mobiles, devices which are usually considered to be the most ‘personal’.”


He continued: “We were also struck by just how many people are using VPNs to go online. Some are doing this to hide their identity and stay anonymous, but many are simply looking for top-quality entertainment: we don’t want to miss the latest shows just because we don’t live in the country where they’re broadcast.”


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