Browser Trends May 2014: Chrome Exceeds Expectations

By Craig Buckler
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There was little to see in last month’s browser trends report. However, the latest figures from StatCounter show some larger statistical movements…

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, March to April 2014

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

Browser March April change relative
IE (all) 22.83% 21.41% -1.42% -6.20%
IE11 7.50% 8.33% +0.83% +11.10%
IE10 4.41% 3.60% -0.81% -18.40%
IE9 3.73% 3.31% -0.42% -11.30%
IE8 6.61% 5.64% -0.97% -14.70%
IE7 0.25% 0.19% -0.06% -24.00%
IE6 0.33% 0.34% +0.01% +3.00%
Chrome 43.74% 45.33% +1.59% +3.60%
Firefox 18.90% 18.60% -0.30% -1.60%
Safari 4.65% 4.68% +0.03% +0.60%
iPad Safari 5.06% 5.09% +0.03% +0.60%
Opera 1.26% 1.37% +0.11% +8.70%
Others 3.56% 3.52% -0.04% -1.10%

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, April 2013 to April 2014

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

Browser April 2013 April 2014 change relative
IE (all) 29.69% 21.41% -8.28% -27.90%
IE11 0.00% 8.33% +8.33% n/a
IE10 6.19% 3.60% -2.59% -41.80%
IE9 13.35% 3.31% -10.04% -75.20%
IE8 9.30% 5.64% -3.66% -39.40%
IE7 0.59% 0.19% -0.40% -67.80%
IE6 0.26% 0.34% +0.08% +30.80%
Chrome 39.21% 45.33% +6.12% +15.60%
Firefox 20.05% 18.60% -1.45% -7.20%
Safari 7.99% 9.77% +1.78% +22.30%
Opera 1.00% 1.37% +0.37% +37.00%
Others 2.06% 3.52% +1.46% +70.90%

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. 24% of IE7 users switched browsers last month. There are several caveats so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated.

Following a long period of stability, Chrome jumped 1.6% in a single month. Even that’s not particularly impressive compared to its mobile cousin (see below). Perhaps it’s a statistical blip, but Chrome looks set to smash the 50% barrier during 2014.

Some of Chrome’s gains can be explained by the demise of Windows XP. Microsoft dropped support on April 8 so it’s unsurprising to see IE8 drop almost 1%. IE11 sucked in some of those losses, but Internet Explorer is looking vulnerable and will fall below Firefox in a few months if current trends continue.

Firefox itself fell a little but Mozilla must be hoping that version 29 will be a success. Opinion is divided but the majority of users seem pleased with the first major interface update in three years. Whether it can entice users from Chrome is another matter.

Safari and Opera were mostly unchanged although Opera has grown reasonably well during the past twelve months. That said, a large proportion have refused to migrate from the pre-WebKit/Blink version (12.x).

Worldwide Mobile Browser Statistics, March to April 2014

After a few months of 1% increases, mobile usage slipped a little to 25.02% of all web activity. If your boss/client is dithering about whether they should build a responsive website, that’s still one in four web users!

The top mobile browsing applications:

Mobile Browser March April change relative
Android 26.44% 25.52% -0.92% -3.50%
iPhone 20.88% 21.14% +0.26% +1.20%
Chrome 11.95% 15.62% +3.67% +30.70%
Opera Mini/Mobile 13.70% 12.26% -1.44% -10.50%
UC Browser 11.30% 11.09% -0.21% -1.90%
Nokia Browser 5.64% 4.82% -0.82% -14.50%
IEMobile 2.20% 2.38% +0.18% +8.20%
Blackberry 2.22% 1.81% -0.41% -18.50%
Others 5.67% 5.36% -0.31% -5.50%

Chrome for mobile jumped another 3.7% in one month. While newer Android phones will explain some of that increase, existing mobile users are also switching to Google’s browser. Unsurprisingly, the stock Android browser dropped but Chrome looks set to overtake Safari on iOS shortly.

Blackberry has now fallen behind the relatively unknown NetFront mobile browser, which has a 1.94% market share. While there are still many devices out there, I suspect the time has come to remove Blackberry from the chart. It’s become largely irrelevant from a web development perspective.

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