By Craig Buckler

Browser Trends, June 2011: Chrome 11 Becomes the World’s Second Favorite Browser

By Craig Buckler

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…

Browser April May change relative
IE 9.0 2.32% 4.57% +2.25% +97.00%
IE 8.0 30.24% 29.06% -1.18% -3.90%
IE 7.0 7.82% 6.39% -1.43% -18.30%
IE 6.0 4.14% 3.84% -0.30% -7.20%
Firefox 4.0+ 7.59% 14.23% +6.64% +87.50%
Firefox 3.5+ 20.90% 13.95% -6.95% -33.30%
Firefox 3.1- 1.19% 1.12% -0.07% -5.90%
Chrome 18.27% 19.38% +1.11% +6.10%
Safari 5.04% 5.01% -0.03% -0.60%
Opera 1.90% 1.83% -0.07% -3.70%
Others 0.59% 0.62% +0.03% +5.10%
IE (all) 44.52% 43.86% -0.66% -1.50%
Firefox (all) 29.68% 29.30% -0.38% -1.30%

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:

  1. Chrome updates itself automatically. The majority of Chrome users have version 11 even though version 10 was the predominant browser last month.
  2. 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:

  1. Opera Mini/Mobile — 21.81%
  2. Android — 17.01%
  3. iPhone — 16.71%
  4. Nokia browser — 16.50%
  5. 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.

  • IT Mitică

    I’m happy FF 3.6+ starts to fade in favor of FF 4, and probably for FF 5, sometime in the near future.

    However, I’m not convinced this is the truth:

    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.

    I haven’t tested it with Ch, somebody may provide a more accurate answer, but if I’m in a corporate environment, with download policy enforcements, automatic update would not be possible.

    At least that’s the problem I have with Op.

    • I wrote this article exactly a year ago today:
      How to Disable Google Chrome Updates

      It’s possible to prevent Chrome updating but the statistics indicate that an insignificant number of people do so. After all, why would a corporation with strict download policies install the browser? It’d be easier to stick with IE.

  • fcphdJim

    “Indicted”? I think you’re missing an “a”.

  • Kevin Albs

    Cool, I’m a little happy to see chrome taking a good portion of the market. I must admit I use it quite frequently for the speed.

    Once IE6 goes down below 1% I think I’m having a party :D

  • Thomas Jane

    Microsoft should stop making versions of IE. They are all useless. Happy to see FF 4 rising.

    • Patrick Samphire

      That’s a fairly silly statement. IE9 is an excellent browser (not as good as Chrome or Opera, perhaps, but not far off). In its day, IE6 was also excellent. IE7 and, to some extent, IE8 lagged far behind when they were released, but Microsoft is catching up.

      • Thomas Jane

        I think you have not used any other browser except IE. I am a web developer and have faced a lot of problem due this bad guy. It doesn’t follow any standards. Mean while you said IE 6 was a better browser, well that’s not something i should agree with. It was the dumbest browser one can ever use.

      • Actually, in it’s day, IE6 followed web standards better than any other browser. That day may have been in 2001 but, believe me, Netscape 4 was a far worse option.

        I agree with Patrick that IE9 is a good browser. Behind the others perhaps, but it’s a massive step in the right direction. Even if Microsoft stopped making browsers today, IE would remain with us for many years.

      • Richard – Accessibleweb

        I agree with Patrick IE9 is a good browser and that IE6 at the time was a big leap forward.

        To say that all versions of IE are useless and that they don’t follow any standards is patently ridiculous Thomas.

        And yes, I do use other browsers FF3 for quite a while and now largely Chrome.

  • BlaineSch

    When one goes up, another must go down. Chrome seems to be growing, and IE in general seems to be going down. Based on this, I believe the only reason they are getting such a big portion is because of the “Download Chrome” they display on the home page for anybody not using Chrome.

    Over time, Firefox popularity barely changes.

    • Jules

      The ‘Install Google Chrome’ button only appear for IE users, other browsers don’t get it.

    • Firefox hasn’t changed much, but it’s market share is eroding by around 0.3% per month. I thought Fx4 may have made a difference but it hasn’t yet.

  • Ray

    I’m currently working on a site and i can tell you that the fastest growing browser in our stats is Safari on mobile devices, more than doubled in the last twelve months. Mobile traffic is pushing up to 18% of total traffic, and higher on weekends.

    • Wow — that’s a huge proportion. Do you have specific content or tools which attracts those users?

  • Ciaran Ryan

    I’m still surprised how few companies realise the growth in non IE / FF browsers. Not sure what it’s going to take for them to wake up and smell the Chromey :) As an Accountant, I still can’t access Quickbooks Online with Chrome. Couldn’t access Oracle 11i outside of IE either. Maybe it’s just that us Accountants are still in the dark ages…..

    • IT Mitică

      You should be able to access Oracle outside IE. It depends on what technologies are involved: Forms, JSF, APEX etcetera.

      It used to be a problem accessing Oracle outside IE when there was only one Oracle proprietary specific Java VM, but Oracle has since moved on supporting the standard VM.

  • Joshua Kelly

    Agreed IE is useless although one good thing i like about IE9 is that you no longer need to install IE7 / IE8 / IE9 native versions. You can have just IE9 and swap the rendering engine to the different versions through the dev tools, quite handy while testing…

    Although still light years behind firebug & webkit’s developer tools, it’s a step in the right direction.

    • Compatibility mode is good enough in many cases, but it’s not perfect. JavaScript is often an issue and it’s not a perfect representation of the real browsers. I’d recommend keeping an installation of IE8 to hand.

  • andy

    in recently years ,more and more browser be pushed out suan as chrome ,firefox ,avant browser ,opera .so people have more choices that’s what they like.

  • Thomas Jane

    I and a lot of other developers and killed IE but yet its not buried. If somebody gives me the option to use IE6 or get killed, I might choose the second option.

    • EMComments

      … and we would all miss your insightful comments.

    • Daquan Wright

      The thing about IE is that Microsoft monopolized the web for a long time, and stagnated it. Corporations are tied to MS’s OS per contract, and since it costs a lot of money they can’t just up and go. This affects whoever has those types of clients.

      I don’t, thank lord. But feel sorry for the people that do.

  • I have contributed to Google Chrome and Andriod Phone to become the #1 compared to others. Google’s products are more user friendly and the UI is different from others. That’s make them outstanding!

  • The complete, utter and brutal death of IE cannot come soon enough for me.

    It frequently brings me to tears.

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