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Browser Trends June 2013: Chrome Outnumbers Firefox 2 to 1

By Craig Buckler



In last month’s analysis, it was evident Google and Microsoft have the biggest browser battle. Unfortunately, the latest figures according to StatCounter highlight a casualty of the war…

Worldwide Browser Statistics April 2013 to May 2013

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

Browser April May change relative
IE (all) 29.69% 27.71% -1.98% -6.70%
IE10 6.19% 8.69% +2.50% +40.40%
IE 9 13.35% 9.61% -3.74% -28.00%
IE8 9.30% 8.63% -0.67% -7.20%
IE7 0.59% 0.54% -0.05% -8.50%
IE6 0.26% 0.24% -0.02% -7.70%
Chrome 39.21% 41.44% +2.23% +5.70%
Firefox 20.05% 19.75% -0.30% -1.50%
Safari 7.99% 7.94% -0.05% -0.60%
Opera 1.00% 1.00% +0.00% +0.00%
Others 2.06% 2.16% +0.10% +4.90%

Worldwide Browser Statistics May 2012 to May 2013

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

Browser May 2012 May 2013 change relative
IE (all) 32.13% 27.71% -4.42% -13.80%
IE10 0.00% 8.69% +8.69% n/a
IE 9 15.59% 9.61% -5.98% -38.40%
IE8 14.35% 8.63% -5.72% -39.90%
IE7 1.53% 0.54% -0.99% -64.70%
IE6 0.66% 0.24% -0.42% -63.60%
Chrome 32.51% 41.44% +8.93% +27.50%
Firefox 25.57% 19.75% -5.82% -22.80%
Safari 7.08% 7.94% +0.86% +12.10%
Opera 1.78% 1.00% -0.78% -43.80%
Others 0.93% 2.16% +1.23% +132.30%

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 8.5% of IE7 users abandoned the browser last month. There are several caveats so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated.

Firefox has dropped below 20%. StatCounter’s records only go back to 2008 but I guess 2005 was the last time Mozilla’s browser was at that level. Firefox 1.0 was released in November 2004 and instantly received positive press in a world dominated by IE6. It remains a great browser and 20% is a healthy share, but Mozilla will never have the commercial clout of Google and Microsoft. However, Firefox is the only true open-source browser — Mozilla has no shareholders or profit targets. There’s little reason to doubt Firefox’s long-term future even though Mozilla has stopped development on related projects such as Camino (a Gecko browser for OSX which has been superseded by Firefox) and Thunderbird (the Gecko-based email and news client).

I’m not sure how Chrome managed to jump another 2.23%, but it’s incredible for a browser which now holds more that 40% of the market. In simplistic terms, Chrome is used by twice as many users as Firefox. I’m not wholly convinced that’s the case, especially since version 27 introduced further pre-rendering technology to download pages in the background. This can affect the statistics; StatCounter has fixed similar skewing issues in the past so perhaps we’ll see a drop next month.

The bulk of Chrome’s increase came at the expense of Internet Explorer which dropped almost 2%. IE10 continues to make impressive gains, but mainly because users are migrating from previous versions. If the rumors are true, IE11 will arrive with Windows 8.1 later this month and give Google a little more competition.

As for the others, neither Safari or Opera moved. I double-checked Opera — it’s still at exactly 1%. The mobile Blink-based editions are gradually being released so it shouldn’t be long until the desktop version arrives.

Mobile Browser Usage

Mobile usage increase slightly to 14.62% of all web activity in May 2013 — this normally happens when the northern hemisphere approaches summer.

The primary mobile browsing applications:

  1. Android — 30.46% (down 0.50%)
  2. iPhone — 23.49% (down 0.45%)
  3. Opera Mini/Mobile – 15.45% (up 0.10%)
  4. UC Browser — 9.09% (up 0.35%)
  5. Nokia browser — 7.12% (up 0.09%)

The mathematicians among you will notice that losses for the Android and iPhone browsers total 1% whereas Opera, UC and Nokia’s gains total 0.5%. The reason: another browser is rapidly rising up the lower end of the chart. Chrome for mobile currently holds 2.73% and should overtake Blackberry this month. If it grows as quickly as its desktop cousin, it’ll shunt Nokia out of the top five before the end of the year.

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.

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