Browser Trends September 2014: Chrome Is the Top Mobile Browser

By Craig Buckler
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Last month’s browser trends report was all about mobiles. It’s a recurring theme in the latest figures from StatCounter.

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, July to August 2014

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

Browser July August change relative
IE (all) 21.36% 20.31% -1.05% -4.90%
IE11 9.08% 9.10% +0.02% +0.20%
IE10 3.34% 3.05% -0.29% -8.70%
IE9 3.30% 3.12% -0.18% -5.50%
IE8 5.22% 4.68% -0.54% -10.30%
IE7 0.14% 0.14% +0.00% +0.00%
IE6 0.28% 0.22% -0.06% -21.40%
Chrome 45.39% 46.37% +0.98% +2.20%
Firefox 17.50% 17.48% -0.02% -0.10%
Safari 4.41% 4.42% +0.01% +0.20%
iPad Safari 6.16% 6.38% +0.22% +3.60%
Opera 1.34% 1.42% +0.08% +6.00%
Others 3.84% 3.62% -0.22% -5.70%

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

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

Browser August 2013 August 2014 change relative
IE (all) 25.53% 20.31% -5.22% -20.40%
IE11 0.02% 9.10% +9.08% +45,400.00%
IE10 11.34% 3.05% -8.29% -73.10%
IE9 5.20% 3.12% -2.08% -40.00%
IE8 8.27% 4.68% -3.59% -43.40%
IE7 0.47% 0.14% -0.33% -70.20%
IE6 0.23% 0.22% -0.01% -4.30%
Chrome 42.85% 46.37% +3.52% +8.20%
Firefox 19.26% 17.48% -1.78% -9.20%
Safari 8.57% 10.80% +2.23% +26.00%
Opera 1.14% 1.42% +0.28% +24.60%
Others 2.65% 3.62% +0.97% +36.60%

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. 10.3% of IE8 users switched browsers last month. There are several caveats so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated.

Chrome is the biggest winner and has reverted back to it’s 1% monthly gain. That said, the browser has only achieved 3.5% in the past year so growth has plateaued.

There was little to report for Firefox and Safari although Opera enjoyed a small jump. Version 23 was released recently and, while it still lacks functionality present in the Presto edition, it’s a capable browser which feels faster than Chrome.

Unsurprisingly, Chrome’s gain meant another loss for Internet Explorer. It’s managed to hover above 20% for some time but will almost certainly fall below that threshold before the end of 2014. IE11 may never reach the maximum 13% market share gained by IE10 in October 2013. Despite being a good all-round browser, IE11 is available on fewer platforms and isn’t better than any other application. It also has an image problem; Microsoft has even considered a name change to distinguish the browser from it’s tarnished past. (“Web Explorer” would be more accurate too!)

Question: do you still want to see separate figures for IE6 and IE7 in next month’s report? There’s a hardcore of usage, but the browsers have barely moved in a year and could be summed in a single “IE8-” figure.

Worldwide Mobile Browser Statistics, July to August 2014

Mobile usage increased by 1.2% during August 2014 to reach 30.64% of all web activity. The summer months in the Northern hemisphere may explain some of this gain but it’s impossible to refute the mobile growth trend.

There are several reasons why mobile usage has trebled in two years:

  1. Handset costs. The top end of the market remains eye-wateringly expensive but smartphones are now available with basic payment plans.
  2. Device capability. Larger screens and better processors allow us to use mobiles for activities which would have required a PC a few years ago.
  3. Developing world adoption. Mobile growth in Asia, Africa and South America has exploded — even in places where the PC era passed unnoticed. Many are ahead of Western countries in respect to mobile commerce and micro-payments.

The top mobile browsing applications:

Mobile Browser July August change relative
Chrome 21.53% 22.67% +1.14% +5.30%
Android 22.91% 22.35% -0.56% -2.40%
iPhone 22.94% 21.75% -1.19% -5.20%
Opera Mini/Mobile 11.11% 11.15% +0.04% +0.40%
UC Browser 9.56% 10.33% +0.77% +8.10%
Nokia Browser 3.87% 3.89% +0.02% +0.50%
IEMobile 2.40% 2.34% -0.06% -2.50%
Others 5.68% 5.52% -0.16% -2.80%

As I predicted last month, Chrome has overtaken both the iPhone and stock Android apps to become the number one browser on mobile devices. A considerable achievement given that Chrome accounted for just 4% of the mobile market this time last year and the stock Android browser has only fallen 6% in the same period.

Chrome is now the top mobile and desktop browser. It deserves that place but should we be concerned about Google’s dominance? Hopefully they’ll remember what happened to the last company who enjoyed a browser monopoly.

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  • andrei

    Unifying the IE6 and IE7 figures soudns like a great idea. At least I, generally treat those figures as combined, generally speaking of below IE8 about them. Although not sure of the naming convention (IE8-), but that is a minor detail, and we can get used to any table header I guess. I guess a more appropriate table header would be IE6/7 or IE6+7.

    Regards, and keep up the great work

  • Jack Saat

    Yesterday I found out that you can throw all your stats out of the window when your client is the one still on IE7. I’m still thinking how to answer his Email. How do I tell someone that my work not is crap but her brower is really outdated…. and risk not getting payed :S Lucky me!

    • amit d

      That’s the best comment ever heard about IE “throw all your stats out of the window when your client is the one still on IE7”

  • Craig Buckler

    Thanks Andrei. Perhaps “IE6/7/8” is a better title? Most developers treat them as a single painful entity … although IE8 is far, far easier to support than its predecessors.

  • Don Jajo

    Nah, Firefox still dominates my PC :)

  • Finn Balle-Larsen

    I agree with most of your reasoning this month.
    However I think you have not taken into account that the browser market for mobile devices almost doubled from 2013 to 2014. In this market IE is non existing and this is a third of the entire market! You are therefore concluding that Chrome has reached a plateau with regards to share of a shrinking market, but Chrome is taking a large share of the new mobile market.
    And you are right, Chrome has won the “war” (and must live the do no evil). Not only did Chrome win on the traditional desktop, but also on the exploding mobile market.

    Please combine sub IE9 for next month.

    • Craig Buckler

      Chrome’s plateau was in reference to its desktop share. I still think it can go further but at a much reduced rate.

      In theory, a doubling of the mobile market shouldn’t make a difference because every browser would double. Chrome is winning partly because it’s now the default Android browser and it’s available on a variety of high and low-end devices. It’s also very good on mobile; I use it whereas I still prefer Firefox on desktop.

      • Finn Balle-Larsen

        My point was that the desktop share is becoming less important as a type…
        In theory doubling the market shouldn’t make a difference, given the share of browsers are the roughly the same, but they are not. In the mobile market IE is (almost) not represented.

        So in a declining desktop market, we may see that the shift to mobile is done roughly uniformly. I will expect that mobile users will use the same browser on the desktop, if it is available (and possible).

        • Craig Buckler

          Hmm. I’m not totally convinced by that. The figures are separated so a greater mobile share should not affect desktop percentages. Some people may switch to desktop Chrome because they use it on mobile but, in my experience, most (novice) users opt for whatever was installed by default.