Browser Trends November 2012: Entering Equilibrium?

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Another month is over. September was quiet and I wondered whether IE10 could be a disruptive influence. Microsoft’s decision to delay the browser on Windows 7 now makes that unlikely, so let’s look at the latest browser market statistics according to StatCounter

Worldwide Browser Statistics September 2012 to October 2012

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

Browser September October change relative
IE (all) 32.71% 32.08% -0.63% -1.90%
IE 9.0+ 18.00% 17.95% -0.05% -0.30%
IE 8.0 13.08% 12.66% -0.42% -3.20%
IE 7.0 1.12% 0.98% -0.14% -12.50%
IE 6.0 0.51% 0.49% -0.02% -3.90%
Firefox 22.39% 22.32% -0.07% -0.30%
Chrome 34.29% 34.83% +0.54% +1.60%
Safari 7.70% 7.81% +0.11% +1.40%
Opera 1.62% 1.63% +0.01% +0.60%
Others 1.29% 1.33% +0.04% +3.10%

Worldwide Browser Statistics October 2011 to October 2012

The following table shows browser usage movements during the past 12 months:

Browser October 2011 October 2012 change relative
IE (all) 40.18% 32.08% -8.10% -20.20%
IE 9.0+ 9.59% 17.95% +8.36% +87.20%
IE 8.0 23.83% 12.66% -11.17% -46.90%
IE 7.0 4.29% 0.98% -3.31% -77.20%
IE 6.0 2.47% 0.49% -1.98% -80.20%
Firefox 26.39% 22.32% -4.07% -15.40%
Chrome 25.05% 34.83% +9.78% +39.00%
Safari 5.93% 7.81% +1.88% +31.70%
Opera 1.80% 1.63% -0.17% -9.40%
Others 0.65% 1.33% +0.68% +104.60%

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 12.50% of IE7 users abandoned the browser last month. There are several caveats so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated.

The most remarkable observation is how unremarkable the browser movements have been. Chrome made further gains, but its period of 1% monthly growth appears to have ended. IE8 experienced the largest drop, but it’s also great to see IE7 fall below 1% for the first time. Unsurprisingly, IE10 (review coming soon) barely makes an impact with a 0.08% market share — next month should give us a better indication of Windows 8 adoption.

Firefox lost a few users, Safari made a small improvement and Opera barely changed.

We have reached a point of web stability. IE10, Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera are all capable browsers; there is little to choose between them. The older versions of IE can be problematical but, without them, we’d have nothing to moan about! Fortunately, their days are numbered.

The browser market is healthy. No one vendor has significant control and it’s increasingly difficult for any company to wrestle users from their favorite application. I hope it remains that way.

Mobile Browser Usage

October’s mobile usage increased slightly to 12.3% of all web activity.

The primary mobile browsing applications:

  1. Android — 25.84% (up 0.74%)
  2. iPhone — 20.87% (up 0.25%)
  3. Opera Mini/Mobile – 18.92% (down 0.35%)
  4. Nokia browser — 10.20% (down 0.41%)
  5. UC Browser — 7.65% (up 0.3%)

Android continues to make good gains, but the top five remains as rigid as the desktop browsers. I suspect this could change as we approach the end of the year and people start considering gift ideas. A slew of new tablet devices could make an interesting couple of months.

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