Browser Trends June 2016: Microsoft Misfortune

Microsoft EdgeMozilla finally overtook Microsoft during April 2016. Do the latest StatCounter browser statistics hold any cheer for IE and Edge? …

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, April to May 2016

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

Browser April May change relative
Chrome 56.89% 57.07% +0.18% +0.30%
Firefox 14.24% 14.50% +0.26% +1.80%
IE11 9.02% 8.65% -0.37% -4.10%
oldIE 3.11% 2.73% -0.38% -12.20%
Edge 2.10% 2.29% +0.19% +9.00%
Safari 4.20% 4.32% +0.12% +2.90%
iPad Safari 5.26% 5.35% +0.09% +1.70%
Opera 1.83% 1.80% -0.03% -1.60%
Others 3.35% 3.29% -0.06% -1.80%

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, May 2015 to May 2016

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

Browser May 2015 May 2016 change relative
Chrome 49.36% 57.07% +7.71% +15.60%
Firefox 16.39% 14.50% -1.89% -11.50%
IE11 10.83% 8.65% -2.18% -20.10%
oldIE 7.45% 2.73% -4.72% -63.40%
Safari 10.82% 9.67% -1.15% -10.60%
Opera 1.62% 1.80% +0.18% +11.10%
Others 3.53% 5.58% +2.05% +58.10%

(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. Edge’s userbase grew 9% last month. There are several caveats, so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated and StatCounter vs NetMarketShare.)

I’ve rearranged the statistics into approximate usage order. Edge and IE11 are counted separately, but IE10 and below are wrapped into the increasingly irrelevant oldIE category, which now accounts for less than 3% of the market.

Edge is growing its user base by up to 10% per month, but it’s not gaining users at the rate IE is dropping. IE11 remains a capable browser, but development has been abandoned and usage is falling accordingly. Edge is solid competitor to Chrome and Firefox, but it only runs on Windows 10 — and not everyone is able or willing to migrate yet.

Ironically, Microsoft is doing everything we ask of them. They:

The Microsoft ecosystem still feels a little disjointed when compared to Google: online login can be painful, collaboration isn’t as slick, Outlook’s HTML email view is poor, Office does not support SVG, Edge extensions are yet to arrive, and non-Windows OS software can be patchy. Google and Apple need strong competitors, but Microsoft are playing catch-up and it’s not been enough to stem the flow of users. They can succeed, but innovation will be the only way to win.

As for the other browsers, Firefox’s small jump during April consolidated its position at #2, with a 0.83% advantage over IE/Edge. Chrome increased slightly, and it was a relatively good month for Safari, given the recent drop in form.

Worldwide Mobile Browser Statistics, April to May 2016

Mobile usage jumped by a huge 2.25% during May and now accounts for 45.81% of all web activity. Warmer weather in the northern hemisphere may account for some of that increase, but we’re within reach of the promised 50:50 split.

The top mobile browsing applications for the month were:

Mobile Browser April May change relative
Chrome 34.17% 34.44% +0.27% +0.80%
UC Browser 19.75% 20.49% +0.74% +3.70%
iPhone 17.48% 17.36% -0.12% -0.70%
Opera Mini/Mobile 10.90% 10.98% +0.08% +0.70%
Android 8.30% 7.68% -0.62% -7.50%
Samsung Internet 5.71% 5.46% -0.25% -4.40%
IEMobile 1.60% 1.52% -0.08% -5.00%
Others 2.09% 2.07% -0.02% -1.00%

Application usage remained similar to April, although it seems the Samsung surge has ended. Perhaps people have stopped using their shiny new S7s every few minutes?!

The main mobile news is Microsoft’s disposal of the Nokia brand just two years after their $7.2 billion takeover. Nokia’s aging feature phone business has been sold to FIH Mobile Ltd for $350 million and 1,000 jobs were cut. Ouch. Nokia’s old models still rank as the most popular ever sold, but the brand is set to disappear into obscurity.

Rumors remain about a new Surface Phone, but Microsoft has struggled in the mobile arena. Windows phones are generally well made, fast and intuitive, but they arrived too late on the market and struggle from a lack of native apps. I suspect Microsoft will shelve their mobile ambitions.