Opera announced today that about 300 million people use its web browser across both desktop and mobile. (Update: The firm tells me the figures were audited.)
“We continued our innovation path and our user base continued to grow, our products received awards and user ratings continued upward,” Opera executive vice president Krystian Kolondra writes in the announcement. “We are grateful for all the positive feedback we have gotten and I am proud of what the browser team achieved in 2019.”
Separate charts indicate that Opera usage on desktop grew from over 40 million people in early 2017 to 68 million by the end of 2019, and that Opera’s usage on mobile similarly grew, from over 150 million people in early 2017 to 232 million by the end of last year. The conveniently even amount that that adds up to is 300 million.
But is it accurate?
I guess that depends on a number of factors, including the relative sizes of those two markets, how Opera measures usage, and how many people use multiple browsers.
According to Netmarketshare, Opera is currently the 7th most popular desktop browser—behind Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge, Safari, and something called Sogou Explorer—and has just 1.46 percent usage share. On mobile, the situation is even worse: Opera is in 10th place with just .46 percent market share. But if you combine its usage with that of Opera Mini, with .85 percent usage share, its overall usage is 1.31 percent, which would put it in 5th place behind Chrome, Safari, QQ, and Android Browser.
Let’s just look at that desktop figure to see how that pans out. If you accept that the desktop market is about 1.25 billion PCs and Macs overall, 68 million equates to about 5.4 percent usage share. (If the desktop is 1.5 billion PCs and Macs, then it’s about 4.5 percent usage share.) So I can only conclude that, all other things being equal, lots of people use multiple browsers.
I did the math because this immediately reminded me of Microsoft’s claims that it had 330 million active users of its Edge web browser about two and a half years ago. That claim was easily debunked using math. But the Opera claim is, I think, supportable, assuming you believe the multiple browser theory.
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