Most popular smartphone, tablet OS in SA

Results from the new Global Trends Survey from Ipsos shows that BlackBerry is the most used mobile operating system (OS) in South Africa, followed closely by Android.

The study spanned 20 countries and surveyed over 16,000 adults, sampling either 500 or 1,000 people per country.

Respondents were sampled via Ipsos Global @dvisor in two waves: between 3 and 17 September 2013, and between 1 and 15 October 2013.

Among the questions were, “Thinking about the phone you use most for your own personal use, what type of operating system does it use?”

The graph below shows how survey participants in each country answered the question:

Popular mobile operating systems, Ipsos Global Trends 2014
Popular mobile operating systems, Ipsos Global Trends 2014

The breakdown of South Africa’s response to the question is as follows:

  • BlackBerry – 43%
  • Android – 34%
  • iOS – 10%
  • Windows Phone – 6%
  • Symbian – 4%

Ipsos also asked which brand of tablet people use, to which South Africans gave the following response:

  • Samsung tablet – 40%
  • Apple iPad – 36%
  • Others – 13%
  • Google tablet – 2%
  • ASUS tablet – 1%

Bias, and Ipsos compared to SA research

Explaining its methodology, Ipsos said its Global @dvisor service uses online panellists in each country.

According to Ipsos, this means that in some cases their respondents are likely to be representative of more affluent, connected populations.

To try and compensate for this, data has been weighted to the known national populations.

The relatively small sample surveyed in South Africa (500) also affects the confidence interval and margin of error of the results.

Due to the potential bias and other sampling errors, it is worth comparing Ipsos’s results to other research, such as that conducted by World Wide Worx and Dashboard for FNB, or that done by Deloitte Digital.

According to World Wide Worx and Dashboard, who conduct face-to-face interviews for their research, most of their respondents didn’t know which operating system ran on their phone.

However, when asked about their phone’s brand, respondents gave the following answers:

  • Nokia: 44%
  • BlackBerry: 23%
  • Samsung: 18%
  • LG: 2%
  • iPhone: 2%

This is not directly comparable to which smartphone operating system most South Africans use, however.

More recent research from Deloitte Digital in South Africa confirms that BlackBerry is currently the most popular smartphone OS in the country, but paints a different picture from second place onwards.

Smartphone installed base, Deloitte Digital, January 2014
Smartphone installed base, Deloitte Digital, January 2014

In January 2014, director at Deloitte Digital Tim Bishop said the market share for smartphone operating systems in South Africa were as follows:

  • BlackBerry: 36%
  • Symbian S60: 26%
  • Android 22%
  • iPhone 8%
  • Windows Phone 5%
  • Asha Touch 3%

However, he added that the current standings only paint part of the picture.

While BlackBerry was the most popular mobile OS in the country, its sales were in decline, while Windows Phone and Asha Touch sales were growing.

Android also made up far more of new phone sales (48%) than BlackBerry did in January (25%), Bishop said at the time.

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Most popular smartphone, tablet OS in SA