Desktop market share: Central/Eastern Europe edition
Wednesday, March 18, 2009 1:03:38 AM
The UN region of Eastern Europe is comprised of many of the European countries that were behind the Iron Curtain, many of which are now members of the European Union. As I’ve already covered the CIS nations that are part of Eastern Europe – Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova – this edition will focus on the EU nations, that are commonly known as New Europe. These countries have fewer links with each other in terms of a common language, culture, or history as a combined nation in recent times (with the notable exception of the Czech and Slovak Republics), so I expect to see less synergies between each countries in this edition.
Poland is the largest of the EU members of Eastern Europe, with 16,000,000 Internet users in 2007 according to the CIA. This makes it the second biggest country by Internet population in this study so far, behind Russia, and the 20th in the world overall. It is also a country where Opera has been known to be strong in, and the first country in the study where we have an office. Many of Opera’s talented engineers come from and work in Poland.
If we look at the figures from StatCounter, Opera had 9.57% market share in Poland in February. So far in March, Opera has surpassed the magic 10% figure. Ten percent seems to be a notable figure to hit as a tipping point before user growth starts accelerating, due to the network effect, and developers starting to test for and fix incompatibility issues. If we take a look at Gemius figures, Opera was at 7.4% market share in February. In both sites Opera is in third position, and again bigger than Safari and Chrome combined.
Romania is the only country in the region to speak a Romance language, and has had one of the fastest growing economies. In 2007 the CIA reported Romania had 12,000,000 Internet users. If we take a look at StatCounter figures, we will see Opera had 6.24% market share in February. Unfortunately Gemius doesn’t cover Romania and I couldn't find a second source. By StatCounter figures, Opera is in third position again, and is again bigger than Safari and Chrome combined.
Having just visited Prague, I can certainly recommend the architecture, food and fine beer. The Czech republic was formally part of Czechoslovakia with neighbouring Slovakia. The Czech Republic had 4,400,000 Internet users according to the CIA in 2007, making it the third biggest country in this edition. It is also the second country to have an Opera office. The office is still in its early stages, and I’d expect it to grow as successful as many of the other Opera offices.
From StatCounter figures, we will see that Opera has just surpassed the two digit mark with 10.02% market share in February. This compares to 4.5% market share in Feburay reported by Gemius. This is a much bigger gap percentage wise than other countries so far. Our internal estimates are closer to the StatCounter figure in this case. Which ever figure you take, Opera is growing, and follows the pattern of being third and bigger than Chrome and Safari combined.
Hungary is just two places behind the Czech Republic in terms of world rankings for Internet population, with 4,277,000 users. Unfortunately Opera isn’t quite as big in Hungary as it is in the Czech Republic, 3.76% market share in February according to Stat Counter. The difference is closer with Gemius figures this time with 2.5% market share in February. As with every other country in this edition so far, Opera is in third position and bigger than Safari and Chrome combined in both sets of statistics.
The other half of the former Czechoslovakia, Slovakia had 2,350,000 Internet users in 2007 according to the CIA. I was interested to see if there would be any correlation with the Czech figures, with Czech and Slovak languages being similar and the Czech republic having a large opera user base. As with Romania, we only have one source – StatCounter – so it is hard to draw any certain conclusions, but Slovakia has an even higher market share than the Czech Republic with 15.19% market share in February. Although we only have one source this is not too dissimilar to our internal estimates. Although it still puts Opera in third position, and again is bigger than Safari and Chrome combined, Slovakia has the highest market share outside of the CIS nations of any of the countries I’ve covered so far.
Last but not least in this section, Bulgaria had 1,899,000 Internet users in 2007 according to the CIA. As with Romania and Slovakia, we only have StatCounter as a source. You won't be surprised again with what position Opera finishes in these stats, and which two browsers combined Opera is bigger than. If we look at StatCounter stats, we will find that Opera had 6.06% market share in February, rounding off impressive results in Eastern Europe.
Even excluding the CIS nations, the Opera market share in Eastern Europe is fairly impressive. Only Hungary was close to the global average in StatCounter statistics. With all these countries being members of the EU, infrastructure is improving and Internet population will be rising from the 2007 estimates. It is likely that all these countries will be prime candidates for Opera growth over the next few years. We will hopefully have some more post 10% market share countries in the near future.