Browser Trends March 2013: IE Drops Below 30%

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

It may have been a short 28 days since our last look, but there have been some interesting movements in the browser chart. Here are the latest figures according to StatCounter

Worldwide Browser Statistics January 2013 to February 2013

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

Browser January February change relative
IE (all) 30.70% 29.82% -0.88% -2.90%
IE 9.0+ 18.52% 18.08% -0.44% -2.40%
IE 8.0 11.12% 10.76% -0.36% -3.20%
IE 7.0 0.73% 0.68% -0.05% -6.80%
IE 6.0 0.33% 0.30% -0.03% -9.10%
Firefox 21.43% 21.34% -0.09% -0.40%
Chrome 36.55% 37.11% +0.56% +1.50%
Safari 8.27% 8.58% +0.31% +3.70%
Opera 1.19% 1.23% +0.04% +3.40%
Others 1.86% 1.92% +0.06% +3.20%

Worldwide Browser Statistics February 2012 to February 2013

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

Browser February 2012 February 2013 change relative
IE (all) 35.75% 29.82% -5.93% -16.60%
IE 9.0+ 12.09% 18.08% +5.99% +49.50%
IE 8.0 18.86% 10.76% -8.10% -42.90%
IE 7.0 3.32% 0.68% -2.64% -79.50%
IE 6.0 1.48% 0.30% -1.18% -79.70%
Firefox 24.88% 21.34% -3.54% -14.20%
Chrome 29.88% 37.11% +7.23% +24.20%
Safari 6.76% 8.58% +1.82% +26.90%
Opera 2.02% 1.23% -0.79% -39.10%
Others 0.71% 1.92% +1.21% +170.40%

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 9.1% of IE6 users abandoned the browser last month. There are several caveats so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated.

Internet Explorer has fallen below 30%. Prehistoric browser usage statistics are a little hazy, but I suspect it had that total during the early days of IE4 back in 1997.

Some news which will make web developers rejoice: the combined total for IE6 and 7 has fallen below 1%. The biggest drop occurred in China where the browsers held more than 30% twelve months ago, but now hold 6%. Admittedly, 1% of the worldwide market is still a lot of people, but the figures are dropping fast and — unless you’re very unlucky — they’re no longer of any concern for you or your clients.

It’s not all gloom for Microsoft; IE10 grew by 20%. It remains the fastest growing browser but, at 1.21%, any movements are exaggerated. Interestingly, Windows 8 holds 3.16% of the OS market; we can therefore deduce that 38% of Windows 8 users have IE10 as their default. Usage trends are more complex and early adopters are likely to be predominant users of Microsoft software but IE10 is a solid browser. The recent release on Windows 7 and automated updates should increase its market share rapidly.

February’s biggest winner was Chrome. It’s growth has been relatively sedate recently so a jump of 0.56% is striking for a browser which holds almost 40% of the market.

Firefox barely moved, Safari enjoyed a small rise, and Opera also increased — its first rise in many months. Perhaps the news that Opera is switching to WebKit raised its profile.

WebKit is starting to dominate. It’s approaching a 50% share on desktops, has 56% of the mobile market and a near monopoly on smartphones and tablets. That makes me a little nervous — look out for 5 Reasons to Reject the WebKit Monoculture on SitePoint next week.

Mobile Browser Usage

Mobile usage increased a fraction to 14.35% of all web activity during February 2013.

The primary mobile browsing applications:

  1. Android — 31.54% (up 0.69%)
  2. iPhone — 24.36% (up 1.28%)
  3. Opera Mini/Mobile – 15.40% (up 0.05%)
  4. UC Browser — 8.34% (down 1.41%)
  5. Nokia browser — 6.91% 7.46% (down 0.55%)

Apple’s iPhone appears has enjoyed a recent resurgence; it’s amazing that a single company holds 25% of the mobile market (well, a quarter of those using a phone to access the web). Android also continues to do well.

It’s difficult to see anyone breaking the Android/iPhone stranglehold, but perhaps Mozilla has a chance with their recently-released Firefox OS. The organization is targeting more affordable devices with lower hardware requirements and has almost 20 manufacturers on board. Firefox OS seems capable and is HTML5-based — you can even change OS styles and colors with a quick CSS update. The phones could become popular in developing countries, with school children and those unwilling to pay bloated prices.

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
  • DaveMaxwell

    I wish there was an easier way to break those numbers down. I’d like to see total numbers – the Russian Federation and Europe seem to be the causalities for Chrome being so high.

    China, Japan, North America, Australia are all skewed a lot tighter (even IE to higher if combined like Chrome) so I’d like to see total numbers to see why it skews so hard.

  • It’s sad that there are almost as many IE6 and IE7 users as there are Opera users. I wish they would tell us how many users were considered in the stats. Do you think it is millions, billions, or even more? That number might show us how relavent Statcounter stats are to our decisions revolving around browser stats. I used to use Statcounter a long time ago, and I really like some of it’s features….

    • It is incredibly difficult to determine the number of users. For example, many companies have the same external IP address and every user has the same OS, browser version and user agent. Cookies could help tracking but, even then, many people block third-party cookies and someone who uses more than one browser would be tracked as two or more people.

  • Joe

    I wonder how much of Chrome’s jump was due to the fact they (finally!) fixed a horrible but under-reported bug?