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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