Browser Trends March 2014: Chrome’s Mobile Aspirations

By Craig Buckler
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Last month’s browser trends were slightly unusual with Safari the only browser able to make gains. The latest figures from StatCounter are now available…

Worldwide Browser Statistics January 2014 to February 2014

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

Browser January February change relative
IE (all) 22.83% 22.47% -0.36% -1.60%
IE11 7.50% 7.97% +0.47% +6.30%
IE10 4.41% 4.21% -0.20% -4.50%
IE9 3.73% 3.59% -0.14% -3.80%
IE8 6.61% 6.19% -0.42% -6.40%
IE7 0.25% 0.22% -0.03% -12.00%
IE6 0.33% 0.29% -0.04% -12.10%
Chrome 43.74% 43.96% +0.22% +0.50%
Firefox 18.90% 19.19% +0.29% +1.50%
Safari 9.71% 9.73% +0.02% +0.20%
Opera 1.26% 1.30% +0.04% +3.20%
Others 3.56% 3.35% -0.21% -5.90%

Worldwide Browser Statistics February 2013 to February 2014

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

Browser February 2013 February 2014 change relative
IE (all) 29.82% 22.47% -7.35% -24.60%
IE11 0.00% 7.97% +7.97% n/a
IE10 1.21% 4.21% +3.00% +247.90%
IE9 16.87% 3.59% -13.28% -78.70%
IE8 10.76% 6.19% -4.57% -42.50%
IE7 0.68% 0.22% -0.46% -67.60%
IE6 0.30% 0.29% -0.01% -3.30%
Chrome 37.11% 43.96% +6.85% +18.50%
Firefox 21.34% 19.19% -2.15% -10.10%
Safari 8.58% 9.73% +1.15% +13.40%
Opera 1.23% 1.30% +0.07% +5.70%
Others 1.92% 3.35% +1.43% +74.50%

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. 6.4% of IE8 users switched browsers last month. There are several caveats so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated.

Perhaps the most remarkable observation is just how unremarkable the usage figures are! Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera made small gains while IE had a fairly insignificant fall. Overall, the chart remained relatively stable. In some ways that’s a shame; it’s great to see applications having a disruptive influence on the market. Unfortunately, it’s become increasingly difficult for vendors to tackle the top five. New browsers can only dream of Opera-like user numbers.

The yearly statistics are a little more interesting:

  • One in four IE users has migrated elsewhere.
  • Firefox has lost a tenth of its user base.
  • Chrome has almost 20% more users.

This isn’t quite accurate because the number of web users has risen over the year. However, it does indicate that people are becoming more aware of the options and are less fearful of switching browsers.

Chrome may not be making the monthly desktop gains it once did, but the mobile market is heating up…

Mobile Browser Usage

Mobile usage increased by almost 1% in February to reach 24.68% of all web activity.

The top mobile browsing applications:

Mobile Browser January February change relative
Android 27.00% 26.44% -0.56% -2.10%
iPhone 21.38% 20.88% -0.50% -2.30%
Opera Mini/Mobile 14.61% 13.70% -0.91% -6.20%
Chrome 8.59% 11.95% +3.36% +39.10%
UC Browser 11.57% 11.30% -0.27% -2.30%
Nokia Browser 6.11% 5.64% -0.47% -7.70%
Blackberry 2.58% 2.22% -0.36% -14.00%
Others 8.16% 7.87% -0.29% -3.60%

Chrome for mobile has overtaken UC Browser with a staggering 3.36% increase in market share. Devices such as the Nexus now come with Chrome pre-installed, but I’m not convinced that’s the sole reason for the rise. Unless this is a statistical anomaly, it seems users have discovered Chrome on their mobile — and they like it.

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  • Oscar Blank

    Where do iPads fit in to the stats? They aren’t listed as mobile, but an iPad is certainly not a desktop. Do you know?

    • Yannis Steriotis

      It must be in iphone category because they use the same browser – mobile safari.

      • Oscar Blank

        If that’s the case, perhaps the stats and the definition of “mobile browser” are slightly misleading. For instance, if I’m trying to convince a customer that tons of people are using phones to look at websites, then the ~25% statistic would not really apply. iPads (at least the full size one) are perfectly capable of displaying desktop styled websites. I actually hate it when people use browser detection and I am forced to view a website as a mobile device on my iPad. Mobile web browsing, quite frankly, is for the birds.

        • Yannis Steriotis

          We live in the age of responsive design so it’s all about viewports and not mobile detection.The iPad use the mobile-safari browser – chrome mobile – opera mobile so you can guess.

    • LouisLazaris


      Actually, I’m not quite sure why that chart doesn’t include the tablet stats, because they are part of StatCounter’s data. I think Craig is mostly focusing on the very general “mobile vs. desktop”, without considering the in-betweens (mainly tablets). For example:

      Notice at that link, you’ll see a breakdown of “Desktop, Mobile, and Tablet” browser stats, so there certainly is a way to see that breakdown, without just a general “mobile Safari” stat.

      We’ll make a note of this distinction and we’ll try to include that in future browser stats updates. Thanks for pointing that out!

  • Craig Buckler

    Apologies for any confusion, but iPad statistics are included in the standard “desktop” figures — as are most tablets. I say “most” because it’s increasingly difficult to segregate mobiles, tablets and phablets. StatCounter has only recently added the distinction. I will consider three breakdowns but, other than the iPad, I doubt the tablet statistics will be particularly revealing or useful. Alternatively, I may separate Safari into iPad and “other” (mostly Mac OSX and some Windows users).

    • warcaster

      You’re doing it right. Net Apps used to include the iPad stats into the iPhone stats, which gave “iOS” disproportionately higher “browsing usage”, because people use tablets a lot more for browsing than they do phones, and when they were doing that, Android tablets were barely on the radar.

      So even though there were more Android phones than all iOS devices, the iOS stats looked something ridiculous like 3x the “market share” in browsign usage, compared to Android, mainly because of the inclusion of the iPad browsing usage share.

  • Finn Balle-Larsen

    IE is still declining with the usual 0.4% points per month. So nothing new there. As you rightly note 1 out of 4 IE users have jumped ship the last year. Are you shure that the traditional web market has grown, or is the new users primarely tablet and smartphone users?
    Could it be that the IE8 users shifting to Firefox and Chrome are the Windows XP users deciding to change browser and stay with Windows XP instead of upgrading to a new Windows version?

    In countries like China Chrome surpassed IE for the first time in February. This could very well be bad news for Microsoft if the users stick with XP and change the browser to Chrome. A drop in China from 75% in October to 40% in February means IE is almost cut in half in less than 6 months.

  • Jesse Radin

    I enjoy the Chrome Mobile because it has my history from my desktop computer, so I don’t have to tap&pray for the websites I want to go to.

    Of course it’d be better if the Galaxy S4 didn’t double-type letters on me, but it’s good as is.