Programming - - By Craig Buckler

Browser Trends July 2012: IE9 Strikes Back

A momentous event occurred during May 2012 when Chrome overtook IE to become the world’s most used browser. Can last month’s worldwide StatCounter statistics match that historic moment? No!…

Browser May June change relative
IE 9.0+ 15.59% 16.55% +0.96% +6.20%
IE 8.0 14.35% 13.78% -0.57% -4.00%
IE 7.0 1.53% 1.40% -0.13% -8.50%
IE 6.0 0.66% 0.57% -0.09% -13.60%
Firefox 4.0+ 22.67% 22.33% -0.34% -1.50%
Firefox 3.7- 2.90% 2.23% -0.67% -23.10%
Chrome 32.51% 32.80% +0.29% +0.90%
Safari 7.08% 7.00% -0.08% -1.10%
Opera 1.78% 1.77% -0.01% -0.60%
Others 0.93% 1.57% +0.64% +68.80%
IE (all) 32.13% 32.30% +0.17% +0.50%
Firefox (all) 25.57% 24.56% -1.01% -3.90%

The table shows market share estimates for desktop browsers. The ‘change’ column shows the absolute increase or decrease in market share. The ‘relative’ column indicates the proportional change, i.e. another 13.6% of IE6 users abandoned the browser last month. There are several caveats so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated.

There was little movement in the browser chart last month. The market often slows during the middle of the year but I had to double-check the figures. The biggest winner was Internet Explorer 9.0 with a 1% increase. However, the concurrent drops in IE6, 7 and 8 provided Microsoft with a negligible gain.

The biggest loser was Firefox. The 4.0+ edition dropped for the first time since its release in March 2011. Admittedly, it didn’t reduce much but adding to the falls for versions 1, 2 and 3 resulted in an overall loss of 1% for Mozilla’s browser. The new tab security issue may have had some effect although this occurred too late in the month to have a significant impact.

Following its crowning as the undisputed browser champion, Chrome struggled to achieve a 0.3% increase. While many vendors would be ecstatic with that result, Google has been enjoying a monthly 1% ascent. Is this the start of Chrome’s growth plateau? Possibly — although I’ve been wrong about that before.

We now have an incredibly competitive market. There is no dominant vendor so it would be great if Chrome remained steady with one third of users. While IE attained a 95% market share, Microsoft provided few essential sites and services. If Chrome reached that point, Google would own the web.

Mobile Browser Usage

June’s mobile usage remained steady at 10.4% of all web activity. Many have predicted that mobile web access will eventually overtake the desktop. I’m less convinced. It will certainly become increasingly important, but PCs remain the most practical tool for business users.

The primary mobile browsing applications are:

  1. Android — 21.97% (up 0.91%)
  2. Opera Mini/Mobile – 21.42% (down 0.48%)
  3. iPhone — 20.99% (up 1.49%)
  4. Nokia browser — 10.99% (down 0.54%)
  5. UC Browser — 8.51% (up 0.04%)

While Android has overtaken Opera to reach #1 again, there’s been little change in the mobile browser market. Either Opera or the iPhone could take the top spot next month.