Browser Trends January 2014: a Yearly Review

By Craig Buckler
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2013 was a year of relative stability in the browser world. The biggest disruption was Opera switching rendering engines but that had little impact on usage. The five main vendors continued to release good-quality browsers. It rarely matters which your users choose — and nor should it. StatCounter’s latest figures reveal the winners and losers in December…

Worldwide Browser Statistics November 2013 to December 2013

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

Browser November December change relative
IE (all) 27.29% 23.22% -4.07% -14.90%
IE11 1.47% 6.33% +4.86% +330.60%
IE10 11.10% 5.49% -5.61% -50.50%
IE9 5.29% 3.95% -1.34% -25.30%
IE8 8.65% 6.80% -1.85% -21.40%
IE7 0.50% 0.30% -0.20% -40.00%
IE6 0.28% 0.35% +0.07% +25.00%
Chrome 41.95% 43.99% +2.04% +4.90%
Firefox 18.13% 18.94% +0.81% +4.50%
Safari 8.48% 9.13% +0.65% +7.70%
Opera 1.14% 1.28% +0.14% +12.30%
Others 3.01% 3.44% +0.43% +14.30%

Worldwide Browser Statistics December 2012 to December 2013

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

Browser December 2012 December 2013 change relative
IE (all) 30.78% 23.22% -7.56% -24.60%
IE11 0.00% 6.33% +6.33% n/a
IE10 0.63% 5.49% +4.86% +771.40%
IE9 17.50% 3.95% -13.55% -77.40%
IE8 11.48% 6.80% -4.68% -40.80%
IE7 0.79% 0.30% -0.49% -62.00%
IE6 0.38% 0.35% -0.03% -7.90%
Chrome 36.46% 43.99% +7.53% +20.70%
Firefox 21.89% 18.94% -2.95% -13.50%
Safari 7.92% 9.13% +1.21% +15.30%
Opera 1.24% 1.28% +0.04% +3.20%
Others 1.71% 3.44% +1.73% +101.20%

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. 50.5% of IE10 users switched browsers last month. There are several caveats so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated.

Internet Explorer’s gains in August and September have been wiped out by a terrible November and December. The holiday season may be partly to blame since IE has heavier business usage but the browser lost almost a quarter of its users during 2013. It’s not all bad news for Microsoft: IE11 more than trebled its market share, however, it couldn’t overcome losses made by previous versions. IE6 actually increased a little to overtake IE7. There’s no cause for concern — neither browser has significant usage figures.

IE’s 4% drop in December resulted in gains for all the other vendors. Unsurprisingly, Chrome took the largest share with an impressive 2% jump. Perhaps Google is too powerful but one in five web users migrated to their browser in 2013.

Firefox enjoyed its first usage increase since November 2012 — and the largest jump since May 2012. I hope Mozilla can capitalize on that success; the browser has improved most during the past year but still lost almost 3% overall.

Safari ended 2013 well and looks set to move into double figures in 2014. The iPad version of the browser is responsible for more than half its market share at 4.66% — or almost 1 in 20 users.

Opera had a small end-of-year surge. The proportion of those using version 15+ has risen to 40% but the company must concentrate on development to entice the other 60% who refuse to upgrade from version 12.

Finally, those using “other” browsers has doubled in 2013. Maxthon, Yandex, Silk and Sogou Explorer had a great year. And I want to know where the 0.02% of Netscape 4.7 users are hiding? They need our sympathy. If not therapy.

Mobile Browser Usage

Mobile web usage increased by 3.37% to reach 23.41% of all web activity in December. It grew by almost 9% in 2013 and my prediction mobile would exceed one in four web users in 2014 could be a considerable underestimation.

The top mobile browsing applications:

Mobile Browser November December change relative
Android 26.69% 26.63% -0.06% -0.20%
iPhone 20.19% 19.65% -0.54% -2.70%
Opera Mini/Mobile 16.51% 16.34% -0.17% -1.00%
UC Browser 11.56% 11.78% +0.22% +1.90%
Chrome 6.30% 7.36% +1.06% +16.80%
Nokia Browser 7.06% 6.76% -0.30% -4.20%
Blackberry 3.21% 3.03% -0.18% -5.60%
Others 8.48% 8.45% -0.03% -0.40%

Chrome has overtaken Nokia to claim the #5 spot. We can expect it to reach #3 in 2014 if/when it becomes the default Android browser.

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  • Hopefuly old versions of IE will die soon. Thank you for sharing these informations.

  • Gäst

    Fells like the only places that still uses IE below 9 are offices, where the computer is locked with just that browser …

  • Aurelio De Rosa

    Based on these statistics, the funny fact is that IE8 is more relevant than IE11 AND is the most relevant version of IE.

    • Silviu Burcea

      IE is not a browser anyway :)

      • Aurelio De Rosa

        I don’t agree. Last versions of IE are not so bad. At the moment what I feel is Microsoft’s biggest mistake is to not have embraced fast releases as other browsers.

    • Craig Buckler

      Yes, although IE11 is on the rise while IE8 is on the decline. IE11 is only a few months old so there are still a fair few IE10 users about too.

    • Andrew

      That’s only because Microsoft purposefully make their newer IE versions incompatible with their older operating systems.

  • As you said, the ideal browsers would be those which don’t show different layouts with the same CSS / HTML5. But as today, that is not always the case; they’re a lot better than some years ago though.
    Very useful statistics + analysis.

  • Chrome, big boss!

  • amit d

    Great Stats, thanks for this

  • HenriHelvetica

    Best part?? IE6 ticked UP. ;) But in more serious discourse, these stats indicate that IE11 will be passing Safari – by end of Jan ’14. Could this be true? Will IE be included is serious discussion re: browser compatibilities?

    Lastly, I always thought that the Google Chrome was the default browser for Android, so I’m a little confused when I see Chrome listed separately from Android in the mobile stats. Or, could that be all the non Android users, using Chrome ??

    • Jason Peltier

      IE6 increasing is a sign of the coming apocalypse.

      And the default Android browser is not Chrome. You have to install that separately. I’m not sure who’s bright idea that was.

  • MathAeschlimann

    Hopefully legacy browsers like FF wil die soon. Thank you for sharing these informations.

    • OsakaWebbie

      Firefox is a legacy browser?? Where did that idea come from?

      • MathAeschlimann

        Experience, as I have to use it from time to time to test stuff. It’s ugly as fuck, slow as hell and buggy like trabi.

      • MathAeschlimann

        from a place called reality.

  • buginsoup

    +25.00% for IE 6. :-) Thats a news!

  • Jeff

    I really don’t like IE browsers. It sucks and not stable. Its also have some native issues. As a web QA, I don’t recommend it.