By Craig Buckler

Browser Trends August 2012: Chrome Continues to Crush the Competition

By Craig Buckler

It’s been one month since our last look at the worldwide browser usage chart. It’s often quieter during the middle of the year, so let’s see what StatCounter’s statistics tell us…

Browser June July change relative
IE 9.0+ 16.55% 16.93% +0.38% +2.30%
IE 8.0 13.78% 13.26% -0.52% -3.80%
IE 7.0 1.40% 1.28% -0.12% -8.60%
IE 6.0 0.57% 0.52% -0.05% -8.80%
Firefox 4.0+ 22.33% 21.96% -0.37% -1.70%
Firefox 3.7- 2.23% 1.80% -0.43% -19.30%
Chrome 32.80% 33.90% +1.10% +3.40%
Safari 7.00% 7.13% +0.13% +1.90%
Opera 1.77% 1.71% -0.06% -3.40%
Others 1.57% 1.51% -0.06% -3.80%
IE (all) 32.30% 31.99% -0.31% -1.00%
Firefox (all) 24.56% 23.76% -0.80% -3.30%

The table shows market share estimates for desktop browsers. The ‘change’ column shows the absolute increase or decrease in market share. The ‘relative’ column indicates the proportional change, i.e. another 8.8% of IE6 users abandoned the browser last month. There are several caveats so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated.

While Chrome struggled to achieve 0.3% growth last month, its typical 1%+ growth returned in July. However, it grabbed the biggest percentage from Firefox rather than Internet Explorer. Firefox held 28% of the market this time last year and has dropped 4% in the past 12 months. It’s not devastating, but Chrome increased 12% during the same period.

I suspect Firefox has lost Mac and Linux users owing to memory consumption and stability issues. Performance is better on Windows and Firefox is a match for Chrome, but mainstream users possibly prefer the simpler experience offered by Google’s browser? Firefox remains the browser of choice for developers but, even though it offers better tools, many have switched to Chrome.

IE9 had a reasonable month although it’s rising at a slower rate than IE6, 7 and 8 are dropping. Microsoft’s TV and movie advertising is probably having some impact. I still smirk at the attempts to make IE look cool but it’s obviously working.

Safari continues to rise steadily and the ongoing success of Macs and iPads will be a major
contributer. I recently tweeted a question asking what make of PC I should buy and nearly every
respondent replied with “Apple”.

The browser market movements are illustrated in this great StatCounter video showing adoption rates between 2008 and 2012. The world starts blue (IE), flashes yellow (Firefox) with hints of red (Opera), then rapidly turns green (Chrome).

Mobile Browser Usage

July’s mobile usage rose a little to 11.12% of all web activity. Summer holidays and the Olympics will be having an effect.

The primary mobile browsing applications are:

  1. Android — 23.14% (up 1.17%)
  2. iPhone — 21.45% (up 0.46%)
  3. Opera Mini/Mobile – 19.42% (down 2.00%)
  4. Nokia browser — 10.15% (down 0.84%)
  5. UC Browser — 8.19% 8.51% (down 0.32%)

Android had a great month, especially when you consider that a proportion of Opera users and Dolphin (1.26%) also use the platform. Personally, I think either option is better than the stock Android browser.

Opera slipped another place and made a surprisingly large loss. However, remember the chart records usage — Opera is available on lower-specification phones, but those with 3G/4G smartphones are likely to use the web more. I doubt this is the start of a significant downward trend.

Another big loser is RIM. Blackberry slipped from a high of 19% in November 2010 to less than 5% today. Smartphone users are a fickle bunch!

  • Ryan

    I have to disagree with your statement: “Personally, I think either option is better than the stock Android browser” and I believe the majority of Android 4.0+ users will agree.

    The stock Android browser is incredible.

    • You’re welcome to your opinion and the Android browser is fine, but I still think Dolphin is a better, faster browser.

      Make the most of it, though – Google will ultimately replace the stock browser with Chrome.

  • Jean Valjean

    In case of a nuclear war, only cockroaches and Internet Explorer 6 will survive!

  • Hi,
    Welcome. I read your post; it’s a good one.
    Thank you.

  • gdribot

    I suspect another reason for firefox drop was the flash crash issue. I have finally switch to chrome due to the frustration with flash crashes. I know it will be less of an issue with the upcoming html5, but this was a factor in my switch

  • Ahhh … such a great relief to see the market place of IE 7.

  • > Firefox remains the browser of choice for developers but, even though it offers better tools, many have switched to Chrome.

    Are you sure about that? I don’t know many developers who still favors Firefox. I get the same or better debug functionality in Chrome now than in Firefox+Firebug, and the browser is much faster and less “chunky”.

  • I still use Firefox on the mac for a few things, but you’re right that the memory issues have made it problematic. Other than for development, I rarely use it. Mind you, Chrome seems to be becoming heavier in terms of memory usage too. I have more than a dozen tabs open (and I often do) things seem to slow up horribly.

    Basically, all of the browsers seem to be memory hogs on a mac, compared to on an equivalent PC.

    • anonimus

      same here

  • Looking at those statistics it amazes me even more why so many large institutions (gov’s and banks in Spain at least) still program for the IE quirks so that you end up having to use it or they simply won’t work.

    It almost seems that the developers are living on another planet.

    Thanks for the post.

  • Paul

    I read this article when it was posted and immediately started a celebration.

    Today something brought me back to the question of Browser Market Share and I looked at both StatCounter and Net Market Share (who I am more accustomed to going to in the past) and found wildly different results by their measure.

    Which was discussed in an article here:

    Simply a matter of the two measuring things in different ways. I can’t say one is better than the other but it’s worth considering that a different measurement resulted in such drastically different results.

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