Browser Trends August 2013: The Summer Slowdown?

By Craig Buckler
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In last month’s analysis Internet Explorer dropped a massive 2.29%. The news is far less dramatic this month according to the latest figures from StatCounter

Worldwide Browser Statistics June 2013 to July 2013

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

Browser June July change relative
IE (all) 25.42% 24.52% -0.90% -3.50%
IE10+ 9.88% 10.94% +1.06% +10.70%
IE9 6.79% 5.31% -1.48% -21.80%
IE8 8.04% 7.63% -0.41% -5.10%
IE7 0.49% 0.44% -0.05% -10.20%
IE6 0.22% 0.20% -0.02% -9.10%
Chrome 42.75% 43.14% +0.39% +0.90%
Firefox 20.01% 20.09% +0.08% +0.40%
Safari 8.37% 8.59% +0.22% +2.60%
Opera 1.02% 1.09% +0.07% +6.90%
Others 2.43% 2.57% +0.14% +5.80%

Worldwide Browser Statistics July 2012 to July 2013

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

Browser July 2012 July 2013 change relative
IE (all) 31.99% 24.52% -7.47% -23.40%
IE10+ 0.00% 10.94% +10.94% n/a
IE9 16.93% 5.31% -11.62% -68.60%
IE8 13.26% 7.63% -5.63% -42.50%
IE7 1.28% 0.44% -0.84% -65.60%
IE6 0.52% 0.20% -0.32% -61.50%
Chrome 33.90% 43.14% +9.24% +27.30%
Firefox 23.76% 20.09% -3.67% -15.40%
Safari 7.13% 8.59% +1.46% +20.50%
Opera 1.71% 1.09% -0.62% -36.30%
Others 1.51% 2.57% +1.06% +70.20%

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. another 21.8% of IE9 users abandoned the browser last month. There are several caveats so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated.

We’ve not seen the chart this stable for a while. Internet Explorer had a modest drop. IE10 made good gains at the expense of IE9 which is dying rapidly. However, it’s clear Windows XP usage remains high with IE8 retaining almost 8% of users.

All the competing browsers increased a little but even Chrome could only manage a 0.39% jump — significantly lower than it’s typical monthly 1%.

Toward the bottom of the chart, the newly released Opera 15 has 0.09% usage, which equates to 8% of Opera users upgrading. That’s reasonably impressive given the mostly negative reaction from existing users.

Safari’s figures are also interesting:

  • The iPad version of Safari accounts for 4.07% of the market. That’s impressive for a single device (or variations of a single device). But let’s not forget Safari is the only real browser available for the tablet.
  • The remaining 4.52% of Safari’s market share are Mac OSX users. StatCounter estimates Mac OSX usage at 8% of the desktop OS market, so we can jump to a rough conclusion that almost 60% of users retain Safari as their primary browser.

But is Safari’s future assured? Google has left the Webkit project, iOS has been overtaken by Android in the smartphone/tablet market, and it’s become impossible for web developers to test Safari unless they own an Apple device. I’m not convinced Safari can continue to grow unless Apple can address the situation.

Mobile Browser Usage

Mobile usage jumped considerably to 17.35% of all web activity during July 2013. Who wants to be stuck behind a PC when the sun is shining?

The primary mobile browsing applications:

  1. Android — 28.64% (down 0.42%)
  2. iPhone — 22.43% (down 0.34%)
  3. Opera Mini/Mobile – 15.73% (down 0.33%)
  4. UC Browser — 10.57% (up 0.68%)
  5. Nokia browser — 7.14% (down 0.24%)

Like the desktop chart, there are no significant winners or losers this month. People may be using their mobile more but they’re not bothering to try new browsers!

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  • Awesome! This is one of great statistics that I was read
    Thanks for your sharing!

  • Thank you Craig for the great info. Most of the audiences do prefer chrome for browsing as its speed is high and easy to work with.

  • Woohoo! People are finally dropping from IE7-9 in a big way! Roll on use of HTML5 and CSS3 without extra plugins to make them play well with early IE. Think it’s safe to say Chrome will hold onto its crown for a good while yet as well…

    • Do you bother using shims and plugins to make stuff work in oldIEs? I add the HTML5 shim but I certainly don’t worry about adding rounded corners, shadows and transitions to IE8.

      • I’ve pretty much given up on shims, too. Performance suffers too greatly on what are already cranky old browsers. I still tend to code with IE8 in mind when it comes to certain selectors, but I’m getting to the stage of not even bothering to test with IE8. In another year, I think I’ll stop supporting it altogether.

      • I agree. While it’s possible to make IE8 jump through CSS3-shaped hoops, it has a considerable effect on performance. Besides, when you look at the essentials, IE8 is good enough for most sites. It may not be as pretty, but everyone using flat, squared, unshaded designs anyway!

    • Nick

      I agree with Craig here. I only add the shim but as long as it degrades gracefully I don’t really care about all the “extras”.

  • Carl

    Thanks Craig,

    But what do you mean by “Safari is the only real browser available for the tablet”.

    I use Chrome on my iPad and it works great. It’s not that I don’t like Safari, I use Chrome mostly for synced bookmarks.

    • You’re not using Chrome on your iPad. You’re using Safari with a Chrome skin and a few extra widgets. The rendering engine is the same. By that I don’t just mean it’s using webkit — it’s using the same code and libraries when you visit a page in Chrome, Safari or any of the other “browsers” available on the iPad. The only exception is Opera which handles rendering in the cloud and doesn’t permit JavaScript to run locally.

      But it’s all for your own good. Apparently.

  • Saw today that Yahoo has acquired Rockmelt, the social media browser that apparently very few people were using (though over 1 Million downloaded it). I read it is a mostly talent acquisition, but it would be interesting if, in Yahoo’s struggle to become relevant again, they got in to the browser game. Just a thought, you can read the article below:

  • Grady Kuhnline

    Can we stop chalking up mobile usage to an increase in sunshine? There’s a larger trend at play here. In August 2011 it was 7%, in August 2012 it was 11%, and now it’s 17% (stats taken from your previous articles). That’s a significant year over year growth.

    In November 2011 it was 6.5%, In November 2012 it was over 12%. Seasonality has some effects, but overall we’re seeing, simply, that mobile usage is growing!

    • Thanks Grady. While it’s undoubtedly growing, the predictions of mobile usage overtaking desktop have been wide of the mark. Smartphones are still cumbersome for doing real work, connections are not as fast or inexpensive as telecoms companies would have you believe, and there will always be seasonal variations.

      The real growth is happening in Africa, Asia and South America where mobiles are a more practical device.