Browser Trends June 2012: Chrome Takes IE’s Crown

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It’s been one month since our last look at browser market activity. The worldwide StatCounter statistics for May 2012 record a historic moment in browser history…

Browser April May change relative
IE 9.0+ 15.67% 15.59% -0.08% -0.50%
IE 8.0 14.69% 14.35% -0.34% -2.30%
IE 7.0 2.54% 1.53% -1.01% -39.80%
IE 6.0 1.17% 0.66% -0.51% -43.60%
Firefox 4.0+ 21.38% 22.67% +1.29% +6.00%
Firefox 3.7- 3.48% 2.90% -0.58% -16.70%
Chrome 31.29% 32.51% +1.22% +3.90%
Safari 7.14% 7.08% -0.06% -0.80%
Opera 1.70% 1.78% +0.08% +4.70%
Others 0.94% 0.93% -0.01% -1.10%
IE (all) 34.07% 32.13% -1.94% -5.70%
Firefox (all) 24.86% 25.57% +0.71% +2.90%

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 43.6% of IE6 users abandoned the browser last month. There are several caveats so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated.

The major news: Internet Explorer has been knocked off the top of the browser chart for the first time in 14 years. Google Chrome has become the world’s most-used browser; an amazing effort when you consider it was released less than four years ago.

While Chrome’s growth fell a little in April, it regained its normal 1%+ increase during May. Several sites reported Chrome had overtaken IE in the middle of the month but this couldn’t be confirmed until today:

  1. The browsers were close and the top spot changed with daily fluctuations.
  2. Many countries have public holidays during May which normally have a positive impact on Chrome but a negative effect on IE’s core business usage.
  3. StatCounter changed its recording methods to omit the effects of Chrome’s page pre-rendering technology (Chrome guesses what a user could click and begins background page downloads regardless of whether the page is viewed).

Chrome 18 is also the world’s most-used browser version with a 16.19% market share. It won’t last long since Chrome 19 already has 12.93% and users will eventually migrate.

The congratulations for Google are mirrored by commiserations for Microsoft. All versions of Internet Explorer lost ground including a small drop for IE9. But even Microsoft will be happy to see IE6 and IE7 reducing below 1% and 2% respectively. China is the only country where combined usage reaches a relatively high 17%.

Firefox remains the favorite browser for one quarter of users but it’s barely changed in three years. Safari, Opera and the others are fighting over the scraps.

The next question: how much further can Chrome grow? We now have a competitive browser market with one third of users on Chrome, another third on IE and the remaining users on Firefox, Safari and Opera. That’s a great situation with no dominant vendor. Let’s hope it remains that way.

Mobile Browser Usage

May’s mobile usage increased to 10.11% of all web activity.

The primary mobile browsing applications are:

  1. Opera Mini/Mobile – 21.90% (up 0.38%)
  2. Android — 21.06% (down 0.25%)
  3. iPhone — 19.50% (down 0.54%)
  4. Nokia browser — 11.53% (up 0.11%)
  5. UC Browser — 8.47% (up 0.70%)

There’s no change within the top five. The only significant trend is the continuing growth of UC Browser.

Can Chrome for Android become as disruptive as its desktop cousin?

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.

appleBrowser Trendsbrowsersfirefoxgoogle chromeGoogle Tutorials & ArticlesHTML5 Dev CenteriemicrosoftMozillaoperasafari
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