Last month’s browser trends report indicated how well Firefox 4 and IE9 were doing in the month after their release. They’re still growing rapidly, but Google has capitalized on market turmoil caused by browser upgrades. If we look at individual versions, Google Chrome 11 has overtaken Firefox 3.6 to become the second most-used browser with a 16.07% share. IE8 still tops the chart with 29.06%.
Let’s examine the full StatCounter statistics in more detail…
This table shows market share statistics for desktop browsers. The ‘change’ column shows the absolute increase or decrease in market share. The ‘relative’ column indicates the proportional change, i.e. 18% of IE7 users abandoned the browser last month. There are several caveats so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated.
There are two primary reasons Chrome 11 has overtaken Firefox 3.6 to hit the Number 2 slot:
- Chrome updates itself automatically. The majority of Chrome users have version 11 even though version 10 was the predominant browser last month.
- Firefox 3.6 usage has dropped as users migrate to Firefox 4.0.
Firefox 4 has almost doubled within a month so I expect it will overtake Chrome shortly. However, Firefox 5 is due within a few weeks so that could complicate matters for Mozilla.
IE9 usage has doubled too, but a greater proportion of users abandoned IE6, 7 and 8. Two-thirds of Chrome’s growth is caused by users migrating from Microsoft browsers; it should hit 20% by next month.
I have also solved the riddle of last month’s growth in “other” browsers. It was, ahem, a mistake I made in my spreadsheet. Apologies. It didn’t affect other figures, but those not using IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari or Opera now total a more realistic 0.6% of the market.
Mobile Browser Usage
The table above does not include mobile browsers. According to StatCounter, desktop browsers account for 94.25% of all web activity. Mobile browser usage is growing sedately and its 5.75% is dominated by:
- Opera Mini/Mobile — 21.81%
- Android — 17.01%
- iPhone — 16.71%
- Nokia browser — 16.50%
- Blackberry — 12.76%
The mobile market is more varied than most developers realize and testing multiple platforms is difficult. While you may own and test the latest 4G smartphone, remember to consider those with less capable devices.
Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.