It’s official. According to recent figures released by StatCounter Global Statistics, Firefox 3.5 has become the world’s most popular browser. Its global market share is just under 22%, with IE7 having dropped a little lower, but IE8 is catching up fast.
As with all statistics, there are a few caveats:
- the figures measure individual browser versions
- Internet Explorer still holds over 55% of the global browser market, but it’s split between IE6, IE7 and IE8.
- web statistics are inherently flawed. Don’t trust them.
There are also a number of regional differences:
- In the USA, IE8 still rules with 25%. Firefox 3.5 and IE7 have an almost identical 22% share.
- In Europe, Firefox 3.5 overtook IE7 in September 2009 and now stands at a little over 28%. IE8 has almost 22%, but IE7 has slipped below 17%.
- In Asia, Firefox 3.5 is third with just under 17%. IE7 has 23% and IE6 has 26%.
- In Africa, Firefox 3.5 is the second most popular browser with 18%. IE6 dominates with just under 29%.
- In Oceania, IE8 is approaching 27% followed by Firefox 3.5 with just over 22%.
- In South America, IE7 is dropping fast and is below 25% with Firefox 3.5 rising above 22%.
- In Antartica — yes, seriously — Firefox 3.0 rules with over 61% (it probably has around 12 users).
It’s good to see IE8 is rising at the expense of IE6 and IE7. However, although IE6 usage is now in single figures throughout the west, it remains the most popular browser in Africa and Asia — which are rapidly growing markets.
But we should send our congratulations to Mozilla. It’s taken more than five years, but they’re now officially at number 1 in the browser chart (depending how you read the statistics). Unfortunately, Firefox’s position will almost certainly drop once version 3.6 / 4.0 is released, but let them savor their moment of glory!
Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.
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