Browser Trends August 2014: Massive Mobile Migration

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In last month’s chart, Safari on the iPad had the largest jump with IE being the only desktop browser to make a reasonable gain. Was it a statistical blip? Let’s look at the latest figures from StatCounter

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, June to July 2014

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

Browser June July change relative
IE (all) 20.98% 21.36% +0.38% +1.80%
IE11 8.69% 9.08% +0.39% +4.50%
IE10 3.21% 3.34% +0.13% +4.00%
IE9 3.17% 3.30% +0.13% +4.10%
IE8 5.40% 5.22% -0.18% -3.30%
IE7 0.17% 0.14% -0.03% -17.60%
IE6 0.34% 0.28% -0.06% -17.60%
Chrome 45.54% 45.39% -0.15% -0.30%
Firefox 17.94% 17.50% -0.44% -2.50%
Safari 4.48% 4.41% -0.07% -1.60%
iPad Safari 5.81% 6.16% +0.35% +6.00%
Opera 1.32% 1.34% +0.02% +1.50%
Others 3.93% 3.84% -0.09% -2.30%

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, July 2013 to July 2014

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

Browser July 2013 July 2014 change relative
IE (all) 24.52% 21.36% -3.16% -12.90%
IE11 0.02% 9.08% +9.06% +45,300.00%
IE10 10.92% 3.34% -7.58% -69.40%
IE9 5.31% 3.30% -2.01% -37.90%
IE8 7.63% 5.22% -2.41% -31.60%
IE7 0.44% 0.14% -0.30% -68.20%
IE6 0.20% 0.28% +0.08% +40.00%
Chrome 43.14% 45.39% +2.25% +5.20%
Firefox 20.09% 17.50% -2.59% -12.90%
Safari 8.59% 10.57% +1.98% +23.10%
Opera 1.09% 1.34% +0.25% +22.90%
Others 2.57% 3.84% +1.27% +49.40%

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. 17.6% of IE6 users switched browsers last month. There are several caveats so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated.

Again, it’s the iPad enjoying the sun with a 0.35% leap. IE also experienced a 0.38% gain which is unusual given that Microsoft’s browser normally decreases during weekends and holiday periods in the US and Europe. (Ignore the 45K% increase for IE11 — it was a beta browser this time last year.)

Longer term, IE has fared less well. 12.9% of IE users switched to a competing browser during the past twelve months and I suspect mobile and tablet growth has been partially responsible. Coincidentally, 12.9% of Firefox users have also switched during the same period. Firefox is available on mobiles but only as the default browser on Firefox OS which is yet to dent the market. The application is installed on relatively few Android devices.

Chrome, OSX Safari and Opera barely moved. For the moment, it seems users are happy with their desktop browser and see little reason to switch.

Worldwide Mobile Browser Statistics, June to July 2014

Mobile usage is more exciting and increased by 1% in a single month to stand at 29.48% of all web activity. If current trends continue, desktop and mobile parity will be reached by early 2016.

The top mobile browsing applications:

Mobile Browser June July change relative
iPhone 22.38% 22.94% +0.56% +2.50%
Android 24.49% 22.91% -1.58% -6.50%
Chrome 19.40% 21.53% +2.13% +11.00%
Opera Mini/Mobile 11.49% 11.11% -0.38% -3.30%
UC Browser 9.81% 9.56% -0.25% -2.50%
Nokia Browser 4.13% 3.87% -0.26% -6.30%
IEMobile 2.35% 2.40% +0.05% +2.10%
Others 5.95% 5.68% -0.27% -4.50%

Safari on the iPhone is back as the number one mobile browser — but it won’t remain there long. Android browsing is evenly split between Chrome and the older stock browser. Chrome looks set to jump two places to the top of the chart at some point during August.

Chrome will shortly become the most dominant mobile browser as users migrate to newer Android devices. The iPhone is a strong second but it will become increasingly difficult for other vendors to compete. The dwindling feature phone market spells the end for the lightweight Nokia, Opera and UC browsers. Opera and UC are also available on smartphones but have niche appeal. Similarly, Windows and Firefox OS phones may never have the significant impact on the market their owners desire.

Developing for two main mobile browsers will make our lives easier. But will we have a less varied and colorful mobile market? The Apple/Google mobile duopoly is coming…

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 Trendsbrowsersfirefoxgoogle chromeieoperasafari
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