Browser Trends August 2015: Chrome Exceeds 50%

By Craig Buckler
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In last month’s browser chart, Chrome had been struggling to jump above 50% usage. The browser fares better in July’s StatCounter statistics

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, June to July 2015

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

Browser June July change relative
IE (all) 18.49% 17.18% -1.31% -7.10%
IE11 11.33% 10.84% -0.49% -4.30%
IE10 1.83% 1.73% -0.10% -5.50%
IE9 2.20% 1.95% -0.25% -11.40%
IE6/7/8 3.13% 2.66% -0.47% -15.00%
Edge 0.00% 0.05% +0.05% n/a
Chrome 49.77% 51.89% +2.12% +4.30%
Firefox 16.09% 15.68% -0.41% -2.50%
Safari 5.41% 4.20% -1.21% -22.40%
iPad Safari 5.14% 5.54% +0.40% +7.80%
Opera 1.62% 1.81% +0.19% +11.70%
Others 3.48% 3.65% +0.17% +4.90%

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, July 2014 to July 2015

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

Browser July 2014 July 2015 change relative
IE (all) 21.36% 17.18% -4.18% -19.60%
IE11 9.08% 10.84% +1.76% +19.40%
IE10 3.34% 1.73% -1.61% -48.20%
IE9 3.30% 1.95% -1.35% -40.90%
IE6/7/8 5.64% 2.66% -2.98% -52.80%
Chrome 45.39% 51.89% +6.50% +14.30%
Firefox 17.50% 15.68% -1.82% -10.40%
Safari 10.57% 9.74% -0.83% -7.90%
Opera 1.34% 1.81% +0.47% +35.10%
Others 3.84% 3.70% -0.14% -3.60%

(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. 22.4% of OS X Safari users switched browsers last month. There are several caveats so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated and StatCounter vs NetMarketShare.)

Congratulations Google. Chrome leaped more than 2% in July and is now used by half of all desktop users — a figure not seen since IE’s “glory” days. While there’s little difference between the top browsers, Chrome is almost as good or slightly better than others in most areas. That said, there’s a new competitor on the block …

Microsoft’s new Edge browser was released with Windows 10 on July 29, 2015. It’s had minimal impact on the charts so far but that will change:

  1. Initial indications are promising. Edge is unobtrusive, very fast, looks good and has some interesting features.
  2. Edge will become your default browser in Windows 10 unless you change settings during the update or after installation.
  3. Legal restrictions have ended. Microsoft has served time, paid the fines and satisfied the US and EU regulators. Google and Apple now pose a bigger threat.

Look out for a full review of Edge on SitePoint soon.

The only other browser to increase market share this month was Opera. 0.19% may not sound much and the figures can fluctuate but the browser has reached a level not seen since 2012. I find myself turning to Opera regularly. It’s not the browser it once was, but it’s faster than Chrome and ideal for testing. Opera is reporting a 70% speed increase for version 31.

It was grim news for other vendors. All versions of IE dropped, Firefox slipped below 16% and Safari on OS X lost more than a fifth of users. The iPad version of Safari increased a little but it still lost 0.8% overall.

Worldwide Mobile Browser Statistics, June to July 2015

Mobile usage grew by a massive 3.2% last month to reach 39.48% of all web activity. That’s a huge leap. The summer months in the Northern hemisphere may be partly responsible but mobile usage rarely drops.

The top mobile browsing applications:

Mobile Browser June July change relative
Chrome 32.97% 33.82% +0.85% +2.60%
iPhone 18.84% 18.96% +0.12% +0.60%
Android 15.71% 15.16% -0.55% -3.50%
UC Browser 14.91% 14.93% +0.02% +0.10%
Opera Mini/Mobile 11.93% 11.63% -0.30% -2.50%
IEMobile 2.06% 2.11% +0.05% +2.40%
Others 3.58% 3.39% -0.19% -5.30%

The numbers may have risen but the browser share proportions remained mostly static. Chrome increase is offset by the drop in Android usage but it’s rapidly gaining on its desktop counterpart.

There is a large variety of mobile browsers but choice remains fairly limited. iPhone users are forced to use Safari (regardless of what they think they’re using). Chrome beats most competitors by a significant margin on Android. Windows users have few alternatives to IE Mobile and those with a feature phone won’t find better than Opera. Only UC Browser has made an impact — it’s owned and promoted by Alibaba which is huge in China and India (think Amazon, but 50% bigger!)

Those who upgrade regularly tend to stick with the OS they love and few try alternative browsers. However, the market is not kind to those who let their systems and browsers stagnate. Apple: do you really want to be the next Nokia or Blackberry? …

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  • Ralph Mason

    Quite a moment in history that Chrome has made it to 50%. I suspect this was its last chance to do so before Edge takes off. It will be interesting to see what happens to the balance over the next year. I keep reading comments that Chrome is more geared towards devs than the general public, but the stats don’t seem to reflect that! Fascinating times. :-)

    Look out for a full review of Edge on SitePoint soon.

    Looking forward to it. :-)

    • Craig Buckler

      Devs promote the browser they use – that’s partly why Firefox gained so much traction prior to v1. Chrome also has the power of Google behind it.

  • Dharma

    Chrome is all shiny but its power consumption on a Mac is a shame :

  • Chris Ward

    I’m already getting a bit fed up with Chrome and I’m running the beta.

    My main barrier to change is browser extensions, no other browser comes close these days…

    • Craig Buckler

      Firefox still has many and they tend to be more sophisticated – with the exception of some stunning Chrome apps like Postman and Carat.

      Chrome’s fine, but it is a memory hog and is probably the slowest-starting browser I use. It’s done a lot for the industry but I have a feeling Edge may just be good enough for Windows 10 users who don’t want/need extensions.

      • Chris Ward

        Really? I can find very few of the Chrome extensions in Firefox and they are usually far inferior.

        As much as I don’t want them to be :(

        • Craig Buckler

          I suspect Chrome has more now but its extensions mostly offer bookmarklet-like functionality. Firefox’s XUL extensions can change the interface and have much deeper integration.

          That said, Firefox doesn’t have the thriving extensions developer community it once had.

  • Ayo Isaiah

    Got tired of Chrome’s overbearing memory use and I’ve been using firefox for a while now. I love it but I can’t quite find some Chrome extensions on Firefox. Found the important ones though

  • It is good to see IE6-7-8 and IE9 lose ground. It would be better to see them disappear faster.

  • Triboulet

    I wonder if the US military started upgrading obsolete browsers, if the stats would change significantly. Kind of strange that we are still rubbing two sticks together in offices, but can kill with precision robotics.