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

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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.

Craig BucklerCraig Buckler
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Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.

Browser Trendsfirefoxgoogle chromeHTML5 Dev Centerieoperasafari
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