Browser Trends March 2013: IE Drops Below 30%

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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.