Browser Trends April 2016: Samsung’s Surge

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There was little to report last month so do the latest StatCounter browser statistics show more exciting events…

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, February to March 2016

The following table shows browser usage movements during the past month.

Browser February March change relative
IE (all) 13.38% 12.54% -0.84% -6.30%
IE11 9.78% 9.40% -0.38% -3.90%
IE10 1.02% 0.80% -0.22% -21.60%
IE9 1.03% 0.87% -0.16% -15.50%
IE6/7/8 1.55% 1.47% -0.08% -5.20%
Edge 1.83% 1.98% +0.15% +8.20%
Chrome 55.47% 56.51% +1.04% +1.90%
Firefox 14.66% 14.29% -0.37% -2.50%
Safari 4.20% 4.17% -0.03% -0.70%
iPad Safari 5.24% 5.25% +0.01% +0.20%
Opera 1.97% 1.87% -0.10% -5.10%
Others 3.25% 3.39% +0.14% +4.30%

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, March 2015 to March 2016

The following table shows browser usage movements during the past twelve months:

Browser March 2015 March 2016 change relative
IE (all) 17.88% 12.54% -5.34% -29.90%
IE11 10.63% 9.40% -1.23% -11.60%
IE10 1.74% 0.80% -0.94% -54.00%
IE9 2.18% 0.87% -1.31% -60.10%
IE6/7/8 3.33% 1.47% -1.86% -55.90%
Chrome 49.07% 56.51% +7.44% +15.20%
Firefox 16.81% 14.29% -2.52% -15.00%
Safari 10.93% 9.42% -1.51% -13.80%
Opera 1.62% 1.87% +0.25% +15.40%
Others 3.69% 5.37% +1.68% +45.50%

(The tables show market share estimates for desktop browsers. The ‘change’ column is the absolute increase or decrease in market share. The ‘relative’ column indicates the proportional change, i.e. Edge’s user base grew 8.2% last month. There are several caveats so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated and StatCounter vs NetMarketShare.)

I don’t understand why Chrome keeps growing at a rate of 1% almost every month but Google must be happy. Firefox and IE/Edge are almost equal at 14.29% and 14.52% respectively but neither seems able to challenge Chrome’s dominance.

Some good news for developers: IE10 and below total just 3.14% of the market. That won’t be true for every country, market or audience but the days fixing oldIE issues are over for many.

Perhaps the desktop browser market needs a disruptive shake-up? That could happen during the next month (more news coming soon) but it’s already occurred in the mobile arena…

Worldwide Mobile Browser Statistics, February to March 2016

Mobile usage increased 1.72% during March to reach 42.83% of all web activity.

The top mobile browsing applications for March 2016 were:

Mobile Browser February March change relative
Chrome 35.92% 33.80% -2.12% -5.90%
UC Browser 20.10% 19.60% -0.50% -2.50%
iPhone 18.21% 17.50% -0.71% -3.90%
Opera Mini/Mobile 10.74% 10.79% +0.05% +0.50%
Android 9.49% 9.03% -0.46% -4.80%
Samsung Internet 1.41% 5.53% +4.12% +292.20%
IEMobile 1.83% 1.64% -0.19% -10.40%
Others 2.30% 2.11% -0.19% -8.30%

I enter these figures one-by-one into a spreadsheet for analysis. My first thought was I’d made a mistake. Chrome had a large and unusual drop. But so had UC Browser. And Safari. And Android. After several double-checks I realised Samsung’s Internet browser had slammed into position #6 with a massive 4.12% jump.

Samsung recently launched a range of new S7 smartphones. Sales figures have been strong with almost ten million devices shipped during the first quarter of 2016. Perhaps the mobile market has not plateaued?

Does this mean we have another application to test? Details are a little scarce, but the browser appears to be Blink-based, with a different user-agent string and some device-specific capabilities. The application is available on Google Play, but can only be installed on compatible Galaxy devices. Fortunately, Samsung suggests you test its browser using the Chrome mobile emulator with an appropriate user-agent string and resolution setting.

It’s possible Samsung’s surge is a blip, since I doubt the new devices account for one in twenty smartphones. The StatCounter figures collate web usage figures, not individual sales or users. If you have a shiny new S7, you probably spent more time using it than you would have compared to your older device. You’re also more likely to use the built-in browser during the first few weeks than try an alternative application.

That said, Samsung deserves congratulations. Growing its user base by 300% in one month is an astounding achievement.

Craig BucklerCraig Buckler
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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.

Browser Trendsbrowsersedgefirefoxgoogle chromeieoperaRalphMsafariVivaldi
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