Top 5 Desktop and Mobile Browsers Used in South Korea

To better understand consumers in South Korea, it is critical to understand the top browsers used in South Korea. Browsers are the portals to the web that are filled with rich features and extensions. They are like any software program so anyone can technically make a browser. However, the best browsers need to do two things very well. First, they need to be able to establish a persistent connection with the server to access files so you can view a website. Second, the browser needs to translate web programming code for the operating system you are using so it will be able to understand it.

Many might not know this, but there are hundreds of browsers people can use. Most have only heard of probably 3-5 of them. The most popular browsers in the United States are Edge, Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. However, for South Korea, this is not the case. Because many Korean websites use Korean text and different coding languages, each will look different depending on the browser used. Therefore many Korean businesses develop their platform based on this knowledge. Since browsers will interpret these websites differently it is important to understand which are the most commonly used Browsers in South Korea before you develop your platform or app. Below are the stats for the top browsers used in South Korea for desktop as well as mobile.

Top 5 Desktop Browsers Used in South Korea

1. Chrome – 69.54%

ChromeChrome is the most commonly used browser for both desktop and mobile in South Korea. It has a strong extension ecosystem and a reliable suite of mobile apps. Also as more and more Koreans start to switch from Naver to Google, many are seeing the value that Chrome provides in relation to Google Account integration. It is fast, free, secure, and easily customizable.

2. Internet Explorer – 14.08%

ie1Since Microsoft went with Edge over Internet Explorer over 5 years ago, many thought Internet Explorer would die out. However many businesses in Korea are still relying on Internet Explorer and haven’t been able to modernize. The truth is that in 2020 many web developers outside of Korea are not testing for Internet Explorer these days. They are testing on modern browsers.

3. Whale Browser – 4.4%

Browsers used in South Korea - WhaleMany probably never heard of Whale Browser. It is Naver’s (Google for Korea) web browser. The Whale Browser is an important tool for companies in Korea to drive users to other services. It is slowly gaining popularity from users because of its fast browsing speed which integrates seamlessly with Naver services. Starting from late last year, Naver has been offering free giveaway events for users who download the Whale browser and write reviews. They are also actively making it easier for developers to develop add-on content more easily on Whale. Their mobile share is larger than desktop but both are trending in the right direction. In October of last year, Naver signed an MOU with LG Electronics to develop a fast and energy-efficient Whale browser that runs on LG smartphones.

4. Edge – 3.72%

EdgeEdge is Microsoft’s web browser and it the second-most popular web browser in the world. However, in Korea, it barely cracks the top 5. However, data shows that Koreans are slowly switching away from other browsers in favor of the new Edge. An argument can be made that Edge offers a better user experience than chrome and works great for both Windows and Mac.

5. Edge Legacy – 3.11%

Top 5 Mobile Browsers Used in South Korea

1. Chrome – 39.34%

2. Samsung Internet – 26.95%

Samsung Internet Browsers Used in South KoreaIt might shock many to see the Samsung Internet browser come in 2nd on this list. This goes to show just how big Chrome is even in Korea. Many Koreans I have spoken to say that Samsung Internet is actually a better Android browser than Chrome. It lets you install extensions and provides a better scrolling experience on Samsung smartphones. In addition, it consumes less power and saves battery life. Samsung Internet is installed out of the box on every Galaxy phone. However, Chrome is still the default, but users have the option to make Samsung Internet their default browser. Samsung Internet has a dedicated section for ad blockers, and you have the ability to pick from a variety of Ad-blocking providers.

3. Safari – 20.14%

Safari In a country that has Samsung, it is surprising to see so many Koreans buying Apple products. Koreans that have an iPhone use Safari because it is already preinstalled. While Chrome is faster, you will need to download Chrome and for most Koreans Safari is “fast enough”. In addition, with Safari your iPhone will get more battery life thanks to Apple’s in-house optimizations for MacOS and the underlying hardware. Safari is not offered outside the Apple ecosystem.

4. Whale Browser – 9.19%

5. Puffin – 3.32%

PuffinPuffin is a very secure web browser but it is not free. It takes a different approach to web browsing by rendering websites server-side. This is why it is very secure and offers a lot of privacy. Therefore many Koreans use Puffin for sites they might not be able to access from the other browsers. The Puffin mobile version is free but offers a pro-version for $5 a month. Koreans only use the mobile version.

In Conclusion

Knowing the most commonly used browsers will be very important when you get into web development for the Korean market. Programmers in Korea spend months making sure their app or site is working correctly on the top browsers used in South Korea. Therefore, programmers could save a lot of time if they knew which browsers to focus on. For example, very few people use Opera and shockingly very few consumers in South Korea use Firefox. Therefore there is really no need to optimize your app for these browsers.

Koreans are still using Internet Explorer which is, in my opinion, is the least accurate of the top 5 browsers used in South Korea. Therefore as a business in Korea, it is important for your web developers to be familiar with Internet Explorer even if they don’t like it. In addition, for mobile app developers, be familiar with Samsung Internet and test your apps on Android using this browser. Find out some of the benefits that come with using Samsung Internet and this will help you better develop your app for the average Samsung Galaxy user.