Browser Trends November 2015: the Chrome Clinch

By Craig Buckler
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Can anyone do anything to halt Chrome’s meteoric market share rise? Not even the mighty Apple poses a challenge. Perhaps another vendor has made an impact in November’s StatCounter statistics? …

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, September to October 2015

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

Browser September October change relative
IE (all) 15.71% 15.28% -0.43% -2.70%
IE11 9.88% 10.00% +0.12% +1.20%
IE10 1.63% 1.53% -0.10% -6.10%
IE9 1.75% 1.61% -0.14% -8.00%
IE6/7/8 2.45% 2.14% -0.31% -12.70%
Edge 0.96% 1.10% +0.14% +14.60%
Chrome 53.24% 53.78% +0.54% +1.00%
Firefox 15.87% 15.52% -0.35% -2.20%
Safari 3.89% 4.10% +0.21% +5.40%
iPad Safari 5.25% 5.02% -0.23% -4.40%
Opera 1.76% 1.78% +0.02% +1.10%
Others 3.32% 3.42% +0.10% +3.00%

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, October 2014 to October 2015

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

Browser October 2014 October 2015 change relative
IE (all) 19.29% 15.28% -4.01% -20.80%
IE11 9.52% 10.00% +0.48% +5.00%
IE10 2.62% 1.53% -1.09% -41.60%
IE9 2.76% 1.61% -1.15% -41.70%
IE6/7/8 4.39% 2.14% -2.25% -51.30%
Chrome 47.71% 53.78% +6.07% +12.70%
Firefox 17.04% 15.52% -1.52% -8.90%
Safari 10.99% 9.12% -1.87% -17.00%
Opera 1.29% 1.78% +0.49% +38.00%
Others 3.68% 4.52% +0.84% +22.80%

(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. 8% of IE9 users switched browsers last month. There are several caveats so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated and StatCounter vs NetMarketShare.)

It’s boring to say this again, but Chrome had another good month with a 0.54% market share increase. No other browser could touch it. I’ve complained about Chrome’s faults in the past but one thing Google gets right is vendor lock-in:

  1. Your Chrome configuration follows you between devices and OS versions. You can install Chrome anywhere, log in and everything is as you left it. That’s a big bonus for power users and developers — we spend an inordinate amount of time tweaking software.
  2. Your Chrome bookmarks, extensions and apps are available everywhere. I would happily install Chrome just to use Postman and Carat to be instantly productive on an unfamiliar PC.
  3. If you’re using GMail, Drive or any other Google applications, Chrome will always offer the best experience and you’ll be logged in automatically.

Other browsers offer synchronization facilities but they’re not as sophisticated or essential. Switching away from Chrome is considerably more difficult — but that’s not a criticism. It’s likely the Google/Chrome lock-in evolved as accounts, features and apps became increasingly entwined. Few vendors can compete with that success.

Proportionally, Microsoft Edge had the largest jump but it was starting from a relatively low point. Edge is a great browser and IE11 is generally well behaved but the older IE6 to IE10 versions still account for one in twenty users on average. You should analyze your own market and statistics but, in general, I rarely bother to test IE10 and below — you don’t necessarily need to when you adopt progressive enhancement.

Worldwide Mobile Browser Statistics, September to October 2015

Mobile usage increased a little during October to reach 41.12% of all web activity. The 50:50 mobile to desktop ratio remains on course.

The top mobile browsing applications:

Mobile Browser September October change relative
Chrome 34.38% 35.85% +1.47% +4.30%
UC Browser 16.82% 17.42% +0.60% +3.60%
iPhone 16.78% 16.38% -0.40% -2.40%
Android 13.59% 13.06% -0.53% -3.90%
Opera Mini/Mobile 13.32% 12.54% -0.78% -5.90%
IEMobile 1.99% 2.07% +0.08% +4.00%
Others 3.12% 2.68% -0.44% -14.10%

Only Chrome and UC Browser enjoyed significant growth during the month with most other browsers slipping. That’s understandable for older applications such as Android and Opera. However, the iPhone version of Safari has not increased for almost twelve months despite new hardware and ever-increasing Apple profits. The drop could be misleading: it’s possible the mobile market is growing faster than iPhone sales. Whatever the reason, competition is healthy and it’s no longer necessary to pay premium prices for great devices.

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  • Incredible analysis. Interesting post and very well written. Thoroughly enjoyed the post.

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  • Don

    I design business applications using ASP.NET. I only support Chrome. I don’t need the quirks of Firefox and both IE and Safari are pitiful. Plus, I don’t have time to test and there is no reason not to standardize on an in-house business application where everyone has either a Windows PC or an Android device. I tell my customers that if they don’t use Chrome, my rate has a $10 an hour surcharge. To date, no one has paid the surcharge.

    • Ralph Mason

      Hehe, I guess if flares can come back, then it shouldn’t be a surprise that designing for single browsers is back, too. Are these quirks you mention mainly related to CSS, or something else?

    • Craig Buckler

      Fair enough, but that makes you a Chrome developer – not a web developer. Step back a few years and you would have heard others saying identical things about IE6 … and look where that led us.

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    • In focusing on Chrome only you may be making life difficult for people using assistive technologies like screen readers and voice recognition software. Although the situation is gradually changing, these applications still currently work much better with IE and Firefox than with Chrome.

    • thisisthelist

      “To date, no one has paid the surcharge.” True, because they prefer you at the $8.75 rate. At $18.75, they’d be paying more than double for your services and they ain’t stupid.

  • Sandeep Bansi

    Is there a break out of % within Chrome of desktop/laptops/chromebooks vs. mobile devices?

    • Craig Buckler

      Yes – it’s above! The desktop figure includes everything except smartphones.