Firefox 3.5 is the World’s Most Popular Browser

Tweet

Firefox 3.5 statisticsIt’s official. According to recent figures released by StatCounter Global Statistics, Firefox 3.5 has become the world’s most popular browser. Its global market share is just under 22%, with IE7 having dropped a little lower, but IE8 is catching up fast.

As with all statistics, there are a few caveats:

  • the figures measure individual browser versions
  • Internet Explorer still holds over 55% of the global browser market, but it’s split between IE6, IE7 and IE8.
  • web statistics are inherently flawed. Don’t trust them.

There are also a number of regional differences:

  • In the USA, IE8 still rules with 25%. Firefox 3.5 and IE7 have an almost identical 22% share.
  • In Europe, Firefox 3.5 overtook IE7 in September 2009 and now stands at a little over 28%. IE8 has almost 22%, but IE7 has slipped below 17%.
  • In Asia, Firefox 3.5 is third with just under 17%. IE7 has 23% and IE6 has 26%.
  • In Africa, Firefox 3.5 is the second most popular browser with 18%. IE6 dominates with just under 29%.
  • In Oceania, IE8 is approaching 27% followed by Firefox 3.5 with just over 22%.
  • In South America, IE7 is dropping fast and is below 25% with Firefox 3.5 rising above 22%.
  • In Antartica — yes, seriously — Firefox 3.0 rules with over 61% (it probably has around 12 users).

It’s good to see IE8 is rising at the expense of IE6 and IE7. However, although IE6 usage is now in single figures throughout the west, it remains the most popular browser in Africa and Asia — which are rapidly growing markets.

But we should send our congratulations to Mozilla. It’s taken more than five years, but they’re now officially at number 1 in the browser chart (depending how you read the statistics). Unfortunately, Firefox’s position will almost certainly drop once version 3.6 / 4.0 is released, but let them savor their moment of glory!

Free JavaScript: Novice to Ninja Sample

Get a free 32-page chapter of JavaScript: Novice to Ninja and receive updates on exclusive offers from SitePoint.

  • Viktor Edholm

    Well, I pretty much hate Internet Explorer, I don’t really care if it’s IE6 or IE8. Microsoft dropped the ball for too long, why should we pass it back to them? Go Mozilla!

  • icantthinkofone

    While you are picking apart the different browser versions of IE vs FF, please note this: total IE usage has been dropping about 8% per year for the last 5 years and it’s still dropping. The overall trend continues downward.

  • http://www.lunadesign.org awasson

    Wow… That is something isn’t it. I mean you can’t really just look at such narrow stats and claim victory but…

    I did some digging in the Analytics reposts for a sampling of 20 sites and in 90% of the stats IE (6/7/8) were at about 50% and FF (all versions) were at 30%.

    * The other 10% held IE (6/7/8) at 80% and FF (all versions) at about 10%.

    I’m surprised that IE has lost so much ground in the browser gig.

  • http://www.designwithcss.com alokjain_lucky

    on StatCounter IE have a highest share of 55.65% and Firefox is far behind with 31.94% however it’s 2nd highest and much ahead from other competitors.

    This data is for current week 21 – 27 December. When and how did you checked your stats? The link you have provided is also showing a different picture.

    If we check the settings selected through your link i.e.

    figures measure individual browser versions

    IE7 and IE6 are still ahead from Firefox.

  • AK

    You mentioned IE and firefox but where’s google? It’s like they don’t exist. I don’t get these guys; they launch services like Google Wave, google goggles, etc. but when they launched a browser, it barely made it’s presence.

    I have used google wave and it stands out. They’re spending the proper time testing and generating even more ideas. Which makes looking at Google chrome more disappointing.

  • http://www.patricksamphire.com/ PatrickSamphire

    Do these stats measure the number of *users* with a particular browser, or do they represent the number of *pages* visited by users with a particular browser? The distinction is an important one, because I suspect that more web-savvy users are more likely to use Firefox than IE, but they are also likely to spend more time on the web and visit more pages. If that’s the case, the number of users with IE may be higher than these stats initially appear to suggest.

  • Webbo Shmaltz

    Interesting stats. Then why do so many web designers still design for Safari first and other browers with some reluctance?

  • Dragun

    This article is a nonsense as you say yourself, that online stats are worthless…there is no article here…

  • NetNerd85

    This article is a nonsense as you say yourself, that online stats are worthless…there is no article here…

    This is a craig buckler article, he only deals in “shocking news” to get a click count… if he ever wrote anything positive that would be amazing!

  • Anonymous

    your shock and awe headline is misleading. i know you mention in in your bullet points … but who cares about the version of the browser … the real deal is the browser make. ie – Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari etc …

  • http://blog.geekyjohn.com AussieJohn

    but who cares about the version of the browser

    Pretty much everyone involved in producing websites.

    web statistics are inherently flawed. Don’t trust them.

    So what did you base the “facts” of this article on? Inherently flawed and untrustworthy data?

    I’m probably being a hypocrite because I use web stats from a few different websites to keep track of the trends in browser usage myself.

    I suppose there is no better way to support a bold statement than to use some “statistics” to do so ;-)

  • jim

    Internet Explorer came to pre-eminence because (1) it was free, and (2) because it is required in corporate situations requiring network log-in authentication on Microsoft server products. We learned that the hard way a few years back when we “upgraded” server software and were forced to abandon Netscape. Our new Microsoft server software would NOT authenticate from anything but Internet Explorer.

    ANYHOW, now that Internet Explorer is not the only “free” browser and the number of users NOT stuck in the corporate world has ballooned, not to mention that Microsoft seems more adept at adding quirks than following the rules and users are getting smarter, folks just naturally gravitate away from proprietary products toward more standards compliant products; like Firefox!

    I suspect it was a combination of corporate market forces and declining browser share that prompted Microsoft to finally consider standard-compliant browsing; with IE8 being their first serious effort in this direction. It worked to get Windows 7 out in record time, eh? :)

  • smithy

    tut @ ‘Antartica’

  • http://www.joke4me.com robbin.joe

    coool, I like firefox.

  • AK

    I don’t understand one thing. What do Microsoft or Mozilla get from creating browsers? What’s in it for them?

  • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

    @AussieJohn
    There are several problems with all web statistics no matter how they’re collated. Watch out for a series of articles in January that explains the issues.

  • argosmedia

    Even as a professional website developer I don’t get the popularity of firefox. It’s the slowest and most irritating browser around, although it has some useful plugins. The stats of my sites (a few dozens) show a firefox use of around 15% by the way. I create sites for small and medium sized business. It’s almost only IE6/7/8 that’s being used. With a few percentages for all the others. Firefox is really not popular among regular surfers.

  • the.peregrine

    I do see this as the market’s confirmation that Microsoft’s browsers were headed down the wrong path for a LONG time. Firefox has had to be pretty darned good to give people enough incentive to move away from IE, and I believe many current IE users in Africa and Asia (or anywhere else) would change to Firefox if they gave it a chance — especially if they are IE6 users. I think Opera has a better interface than either, but Firefox rules with its superbly functional add-ons (Opera’s widgets strike me as Googly gadgets, pretty but less pragmatic). I think it’s become clear in the ongoing “browser wars” that community development has advantages over corporate development. Community developers are more responsive to user’s needs because they are the users, and because they don’t answer to corporate leaders who grow out of touch as they move up the chain of command.

    I understand the “who cares?” attitude, too. The most important thing about this is that someone came along and forced Microsoft in the direction of standards compliance. In this case, it was probably the combined threat of Firefox, Opera and Safari. With everyone in reasonably close compliance, the job of developing the Web becomes a lot easier for all of us.

  • http://www.lunadesign.org awasson

    I understand the “who cares?” attitude, too. The most important thing about this is that someone came along and forced Microsoft in the direction of standards compliance. In this case, it was probably the combined threat of Firefox, Opera and Safari. With everyone in reasonably close compliance, the job of developing the Web becomes a lot easier for all of us.

    What a great reminder for those of us who may have forgotten or weren’t around during the original browser wars when IE5/5.5 came out and kicked standards and consistency to the curb. IE6 followed the next year or so which was slightly better but not nearly as good as Firefox or Opera became during the five and a half years before IE7 appeared on the scene.

    Yes it is a good thing FF and Opera put pressure on Microsoft to produce a better browser and for what it’s worth I have no problems with IE8.

  • http://blog.geekyjohn.com AussieJohn

    @argosmedia

    I don’t get the popularity of firefox. It’s the slowest and most irritating browser around, although it has some useful plugins.

    Please take a look at http://sixrevisions.com/infographics/performance-comparison-of-major-web-browsers/ and let me know if you still think Firefox is the slowest. I’ll give you that it’s not the fastest browser, with 2 popular Webkit browsers (Safari and Chrome) being the fastest out of the browsers sampled.

    Firefox is really not popular among regular surfers.

    You’ll need to read Craig’s next article :-P
    A statememt like that, based of just the “few dozens” of websites for small to medium businesses, makes it less fact and more opinion.

  • argosmedia

    @AussieJohn
    Ofcourse I speak from my own experince, but based on my almost 6 years of experience as pro webdesigner, I can safely say that FF is by far the slowest of all browsers in rendering pages. I have used all browser versions thoughout the years, and the lack of speed of FF has always annoyed me. Chrome is blazingly fast, and IE has medium speed.

    Most people I asked about their browsers throughout the years (friends, family, clients) don’t know anything about browsers, browser versions, the existence of different browsers. Most of them don’t even know the word browser. Most of them just use what’s on their computer. Very few ever install another one, and they don’t care to either. It can be frustrating sometimes, but the fact is that John Doe the computer user has the above user profile. If his browser is updated, it’s only because his automatic Windows update does so.

  • mickey smith

    Mozilla Firefox 3.5 is one of best browsers in the world.
    I am agree with you it is fastest and add-ons can be easily added to this.
    Jenny Craig
    Blockbuster
    Jenny Craig

  • RandomStranger

    Speed has never been a problem for me with Firefox, but I think I followed some of these recommendations early on. I don’t think IE permits that kind of tweaking under the hood, does it?

  • http://www.lunadesign.org awasson

    Of course I speak from my own experince, but based on my almost 6 years of experience as pro webdesigner, I can safely say that FF is by far the slowest of all browsers in rendering pages. I have used all browser versions thoughout the years, and the lack of speed of FF has always annoyed me. Chrome is blazingly fast, and IE has medium speed.

    @argosmedia: I think I have to agree with AussieJohn and suggest that this is an opinion that you have adopted. I have seen FF startup slow down to a crawl on fully patched up SP3 XP machines but I blame the OS for that rather than the browser because it has been a gradual slowing down and because FF starts up plenty quick on Vista, Linux & OSX machines.

    According to Mozilla FF 3.5 is about twice as fast as FF 3.0. However, pretty much any version of FF will beat IE 6/7/8 on JavaScript performance & page rendering. According to this recent review FF 3.5 and Chrome are faster than IE & Safari.

    That said, IMO IE8 is the best thing that has ever come out of Microsoft’s IE browser division.

  • phillip_davies

    Firefox uses a silly amount of memory usage on my computer (94,056K) and is the slowest to start up, although that could be due to the couple of add-on’s I have installed.

    Safari is my browser of choice at the moment :-D

  • Netflix

    Firefox browser’s new version 3.5 has new and improved features than earlier ones and is really getting popular. i am also using the same browser these days.
    Netflix