Browser Trends September 2013: Migration to Microsoft?

By Craig Buckler
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There was little to report in last month’s analysis so let’s see if there’s more significant movements in the latest figures from StatCounter

Worldwide Browser Statistics July 2013 to August 2013

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

Browser July August change relative
IE (all) 24.52% 25.51% +0.99% +4.00%
IE10+ 10.94% 11.34% +0.40% +3.70%
IE9 5.31% 5.20% -0.11% -2.10%
IE8 7.63% 8.27% +0.64% +8.40%
IE7 0.44% 0.47% +0.03% +6.80%
IE6 0.20% 0.23% +0.03% +15.00%
Chrome 43.14% 42.85% -0.29% -0.70%
Firefox 20.09% 19.26% -0.83% -4.10%
Safari 8.59% 8.57% -0.02% -0.20%
Opera 1.09% 1.14% +0.05% +4.60%
Others 2.57% 2.67% +0.10% +3.90%

Worldwide Browser Statistics August 2012 to August 2013

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

Browser August 2012 August 2013 change relative
IE (all) 32.85% 25.51% -7.34% -22.30%
IE10+ 0.00% 11.34% +11.34% n/a
IE9 17.57% 5.20% -12.37% -70.40%
IE8 13.65% 8.27% -5.38% -39.40%
IE7 1.16% 0.47% -0.69% -59.50%
IE6 0.47% 0.23% -0.24% -51.10%
Chrome 22.84% 42.85% +20.01% +87.60%
Firefox 33.65% 19.26% -14.39% -42.80%
Safari 7.41% 8.57% +1.16% +15.70%
Opera 1.64% 1.14% -0.50% -30.50%
Others 1.61% 2.67% +1.06% +65.80%

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. another 2.1% of IE9 users abandoned the browser last month. There are several caveats so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated.

I had to check the figures twice. Most major versions of Internet Explorer increased and the total was a shade under 1% for all editions:

  • IE6 and IE7 grew a little. Don’t be alarmed; the total for both browsers is less than 0.7% so any movements appear exaggerated.
  • IE8 had the largest 0.64% rise. I’m sure it’s a quirky blip but it illustrates the browser is still important for many users.
  • IE9 decreased a fraction but at a far slower rate than we’ve seen in previous months. It’s now at 5.2% which exactly matches the worldwide number of Windows Vista users (IE10 is not supported on the OS). That’s just a co-incidence, but using Vista is the only reason you’d want to retain IE9.
  • Finally, IE10 had another respectable month. IE10 is the default browser for Windows 8 (7% OS market share). Windows 7 users (52% market share) have few excuses not to upgrade from IE9 although some may retain IE8 for legacy application reasons.

Internet Explorer’s growth came at the expense of Chrome and Firefox. Chrome slipped almost 0.3% which is the first decrease in many months. Firefox fell more than 0.8% and has been fluctuating around 20% for some time.

Personally, I think this is good news. We need healthy competition and Google is worryingly powerful. Microsoft’s browser dominated in the early part of the century which resulted in many years stagnation. While Google is unlikely to achieve a similar 95% market share with Chrome, the company also controls much of the mobile space and web applications we rely on.

And let’s not forget IE10 is a fine browser … IE9 is good if you’re happy to live without CSS3 animations. Perhaps I’ve been unlucky, but Chrome causes me more development headaches!

As for the other browsers, Safari barely moved and Opera had a small increase. The Blink editions of Opera (version 15+) account for 0.2% of the market — or 18% of the browser’s user-base. Opera users normally upgrade quickly so it seems not everyone is convinced by the new version.

Mobile Browser Usage

Mobile usage increased a little to 18% of all web activity during August 2013 — the highest it’s ever been. The predictions of mobile overtaking desktop may have been a little premature, but most businesses should consider their mobile strategy. It’s difficult to justify not adopting Responsive Web Design techniques when creating a new site.

The top mobile browsing applications:

Mobile July August change relative
Android 28.64% 28.62% -0.02% -0.10%
iPhone 22.43% 21.32% -1.11% -4.90%
Opera Mini/Mobile 15.73% 16.10% +0.37% +2.40%
UC Browser 10.57% 11.15% +0.58% +5.50%
Nokia Browser 7.14% 7.04% -0.10% -1.40%
Chrome 3.77% 4.25% +0.48% +12.70%
Blackberry 3.13% 3.17% +0.04% +1.30%
Others 8.59% 8.35% -0.24% -2.80%

Other than a slightly unusual drop for Safari on the iPhone, there’s little movement in the chart. However, if you think desktop browser compatibility is tough, the 9% for “Others” shows we have many more mobile applications to worry about!

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