Programming - - By Craig Buckler

Browser Trends, April 2011: Firefox 4.0 Beats IE9 and IE7’s Market Share Drops Below 10%

We last looked at the browser market in March 2011. Everyone let out a small cheer as IE6 slipped below 5% and we held our breath for the release of IE9 and Firefox 4.0.

Without further ado, here are the latest StatCounter statistics

Browser February March change relative
IE 9.0 0.48% 0.75% +0.27% +56.30%
IE 8.0 30.30% 30.20% -0.10% -0.30%
IE 7.0 10.09% 9.78% -0.31% -3.10%
IE 6.0 4.63% 4.37% -0.26% -5.60%
Firefox 4.0 0.93% 2.34% +1.41% +151.60%
Firefox 3.5+ 27.89% 26.33% -1.56% -5.60%
Firefox 3.1- 1.51% 1.31% -0.20% -13.20%
Chrome 16.51% 17.37% +0.86% +5.20%
Safari 5.07% 5.02% -0.05% -1.00%
Opera 1.99% 1.98% -0.01% -0.50%
Others 1.08% 1.30% +0.22% +20.40%
IE (all) 45.50% 45.10% -0.40% -0.90%
Firefox (all) 30.33% 29.98% -0.35% -1.20%

The table shows market shares — not absolute usage figures. Internet usage is growing so, in theory, a browser could gain users while losing market share. The ‘change’ column shows the absolute increase or decrease in market share. The ‘relative’ column indicates the proportional change, i.e. 5.6% of IE6 users abandoned the browser last month(yahay!).

For the first time in many months, Google Chrome is not the biggest winner. Despite being released on March 22, Firefox 4.0 made the largest jump and trebled its market share. It’s a little early to jump to conclusions but Mozilla should be pleased.

Microsoft released IE9 on March 15. It’s initial growth has been less impressive but, unlike Firefox 4.0, IE9 is limited to Windows Vista and 7 platforms. At the time of writing, neither browser has been released as an automatic update so early adopters will be power users and developers. Those people have a higher proportion of Macs and Linux PCs than the general population so IE9 has probably achieved as much as anyone could have expected. It could make gains on Firefox if a Windows update appears soon.

However, Microsoft and Mozilla should not be complacent. The total share for all versions of IE and Firefox dropped slightly during March and many users switched to Google Chrome. In a month dominated by marketing hype for other browsers, Chrome gained users at a rate that was three times higher than IE9.

Finally, there’s another minor milestone to celebrate: IE7 usage has dropped below 10% into single figures! The problems with IE7 are overshadowed by IE6 complaints, but I consider it to be a more irritating browser. IE6 has bugs, but they’re well-documented and easy to overcome. IE7 solved some issues but introduced its own nasty problems and tacked on an awful interface. It’s ultimate demise can’t come soon enough!