Browser Trends July 2013: IE’s Worst Month Ever?

By Craig Buckler
We teamed up with SiteGround
To bring you the latest from the web and tried-and-true hosting, recommended for designers and developers. SitePoint Readers Get Up To 65% OFF Now

In last month’s analysis, Chrome outnumbered Firefox users two to one. This month, we turn our attention to Internet Explorer in the latest figures according to StatCounter

Worldwide Browser Statistics May 2013 to June 2013

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

Browser May June change relative
IE (all) 27.71% 25.42% -2.29% -8.30%
IE10 8.69% 9.88% +1.19% +13.70%
IE 9 9.61% 6.79% -2.82% -29.30%
IE8 8.63% 8.04% -0.59% -6.80%
IE7 0.54% 0.49% -0.05% -9.30%
IE6 0.24% 0.22% -0.02% -8.30%
Chrome 41.44% 42.75% +1.31% +3.20%
Firefox 19.75% 20.01% +0.26% +1.30%
Safari 7.94% 8.37% +0.43% +5.40%
Opera 1.00% 1.02% +0.02% +2.00%
Others 2.16% 2.43% +0.27% +12.50%

Worldwide Browser Statistics May 2012 to May 2013

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

Browser June 2012 June 2013 change relative
IE (all) 32.30% 25.42% -6.88% -21.30%
IE10 0.00% 9.88% +9.88% n/a
IE 9 16.55% 6.79% -9.76% -59.00%
IE8 13.78% 8.04% -5.74% -41.70%
IE7 1.40% 0.49% -0.91% -65.00%
IE6 0.57% 0.22% -0.35% -61.40%
Chrome 32.80% 42.75% +9.95% +30.30%
Firefox 24.56% 20.01% -4.55% -18.50%
Safari 7.00% 8.37% +1.37% +19.60%
Opera 1.77% 1.02% -0.75% -42.40%
Others 1.57% 2.43% +0.86% +54.80%

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. another 29.3% of IE9 users abandoned the browser last month. There are several caveats so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated.

Internet Explorer dropped a massive 2.29% in one month — 8% of IE users went elsewhere. While IE10 continued to perform well with a 1.2% increase, the previous versions fell by almost 3.5%. Five factors should be considered:

  1. It’s summer in the northern hemisphere and a larger proportion of people are on vacation. IE usage decreases when users are not at work — even weekends are significantly lower.
  2. 20% of PC owners are using Windows XP. IE8 isn’t terrible, but it’s aging badly. If those users cannot/do not want to upgrade their OS, IE is a dead-end and Chrome, Firefox or Opera offer a better alternative.
  3. IE9 was good, IE10 is excellent and IE11 looks astounding. However, while IE may be a match for the competition, there are few compelling reasons to switch back if you’ve already adopted another browser.
  4. Internet Explorer has an image problem (perception rather than <img>!) Microsoft is working hard to get developers on-side but it’s clear many have not forgiven the company’s past transgressions.
  5. Microsoft is up against Google; a company which owns the a sizable chunk of the web.

Microsoft is heading in the right direction and I hope their efforts succeed — especially since Chrome jumped another 1.3% in June to gain 43% of the market. It’s a long way from Microsoft’s 95% domination, but Google has become worryingly powerful. They are doing some great work but they’re not adverse to a little evil when the mood takes them (RIP Google Reader which dies today!)

The other browsers also had a good month. Firefox went back above 20%, Safari has exceeded 8% and Opera gained by a small margin. Again, this leads me to believe everyone is having fun in the sun … except you and me!

Mobile Browser Usage

Mobile usage jumped a couple of points to 16.08% of all web activity during June 2013. While seasonal variations explain some of this increase, PCs are losing ground as mobile phones and tablets become increasingly viable cloud computing devices.

The primary mobile browsing applications:

  1. Android — 29.06% (down 1.40%)
  2. iPhone — 22.77% (down 0.72%)
  3. Opera Mini/Mobile – 16.06% (up 0.61%)
  4. UC Browser — 9.89% (up 0.80%)
  5. Nokia browser — 7.38% (up 0.26%)

Don’t bother trying to spot trends or make sense of the figures — mobile users are a fickle bunch and have no allegiance to specific browsers or brands (unless you’re a die-hard Apple fan-boy!) However, it’s interesting to see less powerful feature phone browsers rising. The season may explain it, although the rapid adoption throughout Africa and Asia may be a contributing factor.

Just outside the top five, Chrome has overtaken Blackberry to gain position #6 and 3.23% of the mobile market.

We teamed up with SiteGround
To bring you the latest from the web and tried-and-true hosting, recommended for designers and developers. SitePoint Readers Get Up To 65% OFF Now
  • As always, a good and lucid analysis on browsers’ usage. Also thank you for the stats on IE Mobile.

  • I feel your factor number 2 is the main reason for IE’s downfall. I still use Windows XP. Why? Because I do not have a real reason to upgrade outside of pure technolust. Also, if I want the latest and greatest the web has to offer, I can download the latest Chrome, FF, and Opera onto my XP-based system.

    Microsoft, in its strategy to force users to migrate to newer but faulty OSs, has literally shot itself in the foot. Also, as far as browsers go, IE always seem to be on the butt end of the latest tech for developers to use.

    As a matter of fact, IE is the hold up for a lot of movement to the newer tech. I dare to postulate that if IE was not around, the web would see an overall improvement in design and features. IE was the last to pick up Scalable Vector Graphics. IE was the last to implement Media Queries. IE was the last to implement the CSS border-radius property. IE is simply last at almost everything that would make developing for the web fun and easier.

    I have even visited some sites that are now steering users to use browsers other than IE.

    • I couldn’t agree w u more. I’ve stopped supporting IE8 two years ago. I kid you not.
      You can see for yourself.

      People can still come to my site using IE8; they just have to use GCF (google chorme frame)

      I am thinking, if Chris Coyier doesn’t support it, if gmail doesn’t support it, & if disqus doesn’t support it, why should I support it?

      Most of my clients are on a tight budget. I tell my clients that if I have to support IE8, I would have to charge the project twice as much. Plus, their sites won’t look as nice. Almost all of them opted to use GCF.

      Saves me the headache & saves my clients ton of money.

      Take IE out of the equation and everybody wins.

    • To be fair to Microsoft, their business is based around regular OS updates. Don’t forget that people complained about XP’s hardware requirements and incompatibilities when it first appeared. However, the long wait for Vista and the bad publicity it received meant users stayed with XP. If you’ve been using XP for 12 years, adopting something new — especially something as different as Windows 8 — is problematic. That said, I’m a happy Windows 8 user and wouldn’t want to go back despite my initial frustrations.

      While it’s true IE held back technologies such as SVG, CSS3 and WebGL, Microsoft has caught up with the competition. I generally find IE10 less hassle than Chrome. Microsoft is also leading the way in newer technologies such as CSS grids and unifying touch and mouse events.

      Microsoft has finally created the modern browser web developers asked for. Unfortunately, it’s only available to those on their latest OSs.

      • Arms

        That’s the problem with Microsoft, I have to change my OS just to install a new browser. Surely it’s not a technical issue but a cunning marketing scheme.
        I haven’t tested IE10 however IE9 is certainly more compatible with current tools than IE8. Though I still feel it’s too heavy. As long as chrome stays lightweight it will always have the upper hand IMO. Add to the fact you can edit your CSS on the live browser without any plugins/ext. it adds to it’s awesomeness. All they are missing is a Firebug (with a JS debugger) extension and they will be undisputed.

      • Microsoft’s (MS) business model to tie in their new OSs with newer browsers would make sense if other browsers could not work on MS OSs.

        The question now remains, “Why wait for a new OS and a more up-to-date browser from MS when there are other (if not better) browsers on the market that can work with the current MS OS?”

        For me, adopting something new is never a problem. I’ve adopted Chrome and Opera into my equation. I adopted those two because I had a need for what they had to offer. Presently, I do not have a need for a new OS (regardless of how popular I may become in discussions around the water cooler).

        The problem with IE is that it lags so far behind the rest. Even though IE10 may have caught up with the latest tech, Chrome, Opera, and FF have been there for years now. By the time IE decides to join the party, it’s 2:30 in the morning and the W3C is working on CSS4.

        In particular, there is nothing wrong with tying a browser to an OS, but the tech most desired and used by developers should be implemented as earlier as possible. Think about it, as it stood in the past, why would developers wait until users save up enough money and time to purchase and install the latest MS OS and IE10 when they can tell them to download Chrome, Opera, or FF today for free?

        Is IE10 so much better than the rest that it’s worth the wait, sacrifice of developers, and frustration of all involved?

      • @ARMS “That’s the problem with Microsoft, I have to change my OS just to install a new browser.”

        Apple is just the same if you want the latest version of Safari, you need to be on OSX 10.6. If you’re on 10.5, well, bad luck.

    • violacase

      I remember the time Bill Gates said in an interview that the open web software had no real future. (That could have been a marketing strategy) No wonder Microsoft didn’t follow the web consortium standards. Selling expensive standalone software packages brought in billions. Why should they change their policy?

      • Microsoft is a member of the W3C and is activity promoting web standards. There’s no point producing a browser which is different to the others.

  • 20% of IE is probably just web developer testing.

    • violacase

      Count me in.

  • Carl Cioffi

    I don’t think your numbers take into account all of the java, adobe, etc… updates that if you are not watching automatically install things like chrome and make them your default. I can’t tell you how many times that has happened to me or how many times I’ve had to get rid of the “ask” toolbar, that is so annoying. Personally I’ve never had any good reason except for stopping ads to use any other browser except IE. I’ve used them all and I’ve removed them all from my desktop which now has windows 8 installed. I don’t really have any preferences when it comes to my window into the internet but people are never satisfied with what they have and everybody wants to beat down Microsoft. I like my Microsoft stuff, I’ve been developing software for windows since 3.1 and I’ve been writing software since 1972. Thank you Bill Gates. I just wish I had been able to land a job with Microsoft years ago when I was a lot younger.

  • I would post a photo of a little boy with an “iE” helmet eating paste, while the other 2 children are strangling each other…but search for it instead. True here!

  • violacase

    Always fun to read the browser trends, Craig.
    Chrome is without argue the best browser on the market now. But I agree it’s alarming to see the dominance coming in. What a pitty open source development is always soooo sloooowwwww.
    Linux for desktops looked so promising but their UI’s really can’t beat their commercial brothers.
    The same is happening with Firefox now.

    • Thanks violacase, but…

      Browsers are subjective — there is no ‘best’. I don’t use Chrome as my default.

      Chrome is based on Chromium — which is open source (although Google control it). Besides, Firefox is updated every six weeks — that’s generally more rapid than Chrome and certainly faster than the commercial schedules of Apple, Microsoft and Opera.

      You really don’t want to start a Linux debate, though!