By Craig Buckler

Chrome 7 Overtakes IE7 to Become the World’s Third Most-Used Browser

By Craig Buckler

It’s been a couple of months since I looked at the browser market. IE’s drop below 50% was the big news in October. This month’s news is less dramatic but web developers will let out a whoop of joy: Chrome 7 has overtaken IE7 to become the world’s third most-popular browser with a 12.09% market share.

Chrome 7 is still some way behind Firefox 3.6 (25.32%) and IE8 (29.49%), but IE7’s demise is cause for celebration! (Personally, I find IE7 more problematical than IE6.)

Let’s take a look at the StatCounter statistics in more detail…

Browser September November change relative
IE 9.0 beta 0.09% 0.32% +0.23% +255.60%
IE 8.0 29.38% 29.49% +0.11% +0.40%
IE 7.0 12.98% 11.90% -1.08% -8.30%
IE 6.0 7.42% 6.45% -0.97% -13.10%
Firefox 4.0 beta 0.26% 0.41% +0.15% +57.70%
Firefox 3.5+ 28.33% 28.50% +0.17% +0.60%
Firefox 3.1- 2.48% 2.26% -0.22% -8.90%
Chrome 11.52% 13.32% +1.80% +15.60%
Safari 4.22% 4.70% +0.48% +11.40%
Opera 2.03% 2.02% -0.01% -0.50%
Others 1.38% 0.95% -0.43% -31.20%
IE (all) 49.87% 48.16% -1.71% -3.40%
Firefox (all) 31.07% 31.17% +0.10% +0.30%

The ‘change’ column shows the absolute increase or decrease in market share. The ‘relative’ column indicates relative movements, i.e., IE7 lost 8.3% of its users during the past two months.

Microsoft will be pleased to see IE8 usage has barely changed and there’s been a 2.5x increase in IE9 users! The IE9 statistics are a little unreliable — October’s figure was very low because the beta browser was released on 15 September 2010. However, IE9 beta is catching Firefox 4 beta, which has been available longer.

Firefox’s overall share remained mostly static. A few users have upgraded, but there are no significant losses or gains.

It’s a similar story for Opera and Safari. Safari’s modest increase owes much to the success of the iPad which accounts for 0.26% of the market.

The combined IE6 and IE7 share has dropped by 2% with Chrome taking the majority of those users. The growth of Google’s browser remains impressive, and I suspect it’s been helped by the delayed release of Firefox 4 and the continued date uncertainty for IE9.

However, could everything change in 2011? Will IE9’s speed boost win back users who switched to Chrome? Will Firefox 4 re-ignite people’s passion? Will RockMelt become the sixth mainstream browser? It’ll be an interesting year…

  • HDesignsPlus

    hats off to chrome

    • WhatsupThen

      No, hats off to Google for using its online ad monopoly effectively to promote Chrome. Google’s ad monopoly is the reason for Chrome’s growth, after all.

      • sze

        Ahem, Hats off to Webkit, the engine behind Safari and Chrome. Yay!

      • WhatsupThen

        No, hats off to Google’s online ad monopoly. What on earth does WebKit have to do with anything?

  • fn64

    >Personally, I find IE7 more problematical than IE6

    Craig, could you please explain this. I’m very interested

    • Sure. MS fixed many IE6 bugs in IE7 — but not all of them and some others were introduced. They also ‘fixed’ several of the CSS techniques and selectors which allowed developers to target and solve IE6 problems.

      IE6 has been around a long time. The issues are well known, well documented and mostly fixable. Although you’ll encounter fewer problems in IE7, it’s often tougher to find a solution and more difficult to fix an issue without affecting other browsers.

      You can always fall back on conditional CSS, but I’ve never liked the technique — it’s too much like browser sniffing for my tastes!

      • Anonymous

        It’s nothing like browser sniffing at all. It doesn’t depend on a bug, but on defined functionality, even if not according to a W3C standard. Calling it browser sniffing is ridiculous.

      • With Conditional CSS, you say to the browser “hey, here’s my CSS — but if you’re IE7, have a few extra styles in this file”. If that’s not browser sniffing, I don’t know what is!

        I agree that CCSS is better than some of the nastier hacks which rely on bugs, but neither are necessary if you’re careful. Show me a design which can’t be done without CCSS…

        What do you mean by “defined functionality”? It’s a Microsoft-only solution. Just because they’ve documented it, doesn’t mean you should use it!

        The trouble is, CCSS should be used to fix minor rendering issues, but I’ve seen developers provide whole CSS files for specific browsers. It soon becomes an unmaintainable mess.

      • X

        It’s not Conditional CSS, it’s Conditional Comments. That’s a huge difference. Also, Conditional Comments are a way better than putting IE filters and zoom in the standard CSS. If you’re using Conditional Comments only for CSS and for hacks – then yeah, better stop doing that.

      • Anonymous

        Well, yes actually. The Microsoft conditional includes are better than hacks. The defined functionality is as opposed to the indefined functionality of CSS hacks, which create problems when Microsoft releases new versions of IE.

  • Amazing to see how IE6 has been hanging in there. The browser we love to hate will never die!

    • It would be interesting to see how many of those IE6 users are real people. Almost every spam bot which crawls my site has an IE6 user agent, significantly skewing the browser stats for my own site. I wonder how that affects worldwide stats.

  • I wonder how much of that increase in Chrome usage is a direct result of Google’s 20,000-ish employees along with their family and friends..

    • I doubt it’s many — they probably switched to Chrome soon after it’s release 2 years ago.

      Besides, StatCounter reports statistics from around 3 million sites. 20,000 Google users shouldn’t make a huge difference.

    • Jerk

      LOL at this one!

    • WhatsupThen

      Hardly any of it is due to Google’s employees as such.

      But it’s due to Google actively using its online ad monopoly to promote Chrome.

  • Slimads

    Where do browsers such as maple which is shipped with samsung Internet@enabled devices?

    Samsung recently posted 1 millionth app download on the Internet@tv platform

  • Of course once again we have percentages without the all-important percent of what?

    I mean, how many people are being counted twice — one for their computer browser and a second time for chrome because they’ve got a droid; or a second time for saffy on their iphone/ipad?

    Without including how many total there are for each polling period, you can’t say if IE has lost or even gained users. In the time it’s gone from 52% to 49% share, it’s entirely possible to have gained users if the size of the pool changed.

    • Internet usage is rising. It’s leveled off in the West, but is rapidly accelerating throughout Asia and Africa. So you can’t say there are fewer IE users, but you can say it’s growing at a slower rate than general usage growth.

      As for people being counted twice, it doesn’t matter — the statistics look at browser percentages. If you visit with Chrome then Opera mobile, it’s two visits to the site — not one person visiting twice.

  • Sphamandla

    Big ups to chrome for the improvement but to be honest chrome is quite fast so it comes as no surprise that people would flock to them for a better browsing experience

    • WhatsupThen

      Corrections: Big ups to Google’s ad monopoly for promoting Chrome like crazy.

      People are flocking to Chrome because it’s being pushed in their faces everywhere on the web.

      • Anonymous

        Okay, you’ve posted the same stuff over and over, it’s time to challenge this. I don’t see Chrome pushed as much in the culture as a whole as iPhone and iPad, or as much as Windows 7. Advertising doesn’t happen just on the web. Furthermore, Google doesn’t even hold a true monopoly on advertising on the web. A monopoly means you have 100% market share, not just the largest share. Yes, Google is *predominant* in web adverstising and search, but it does not hold 100% market share.

        The real truth is that outside of the corporate workplace where Windows networks predominate (note: not a monopoly there either) consumers have a choice, and with the price being equal (all browsers are free), when they have a choice, they will stick with quality. The Webkit-based Chrome browser is fast, supports modern features and standards, and extensible. Ads may encourage the curious to try something. But ads can’t make you keep it if its quality sucks. Chrome’s quality is what is driving consumer uptake. And those are the facts.

      • WhatsupThen

        It doesn’t matter if Chrome isn’t pushed outside the web (which it is). Chrome is a web browser, and they are promoting it heavily all over the web, including on some of the biggest sites on the web, like YouTube and the front page.

        A monopoly is not 100% market share. Look up the legal definition. But if you absolutely want to argue semantics (even though you are wrong), let’s just call Google “the dominant online ad company by far.”

        For people to have a choice, they will need to know that they have one. Google is in a position to push their message on people no matter where they are on the web, so it is nearly impossible to miss Chrome. This is made possible because of Google’s massive online ad dominance.

        I never said that Chrome isn’t a good browser. It is. But the growth is due to having the Google advertising machinery pushing it heavily all over the web.

        Just like Google boosted Firefox’s growth before they made Chrome.

        In conclusion: Google’s advertising is what is driving customer uptake. Without the massive advertising push, which no one else on the entire web would be able to do, Chrome would be nowhere.

        A quality product alone is not enough.

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