Browser Trends November 2015: the Chrome Clinch

Can anyone do anything to halt Chrome’s meteoric market share rise? Not even the mighty Apple poses a challenge. Perhaps another vendor has made an impact in November’s StatCounter statistics? …

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, September to October 2015

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

Browser September October change relative
IE (all) 15.71% 15.28% -0.43% -2.70%
IE11 9.88% 10.00% +0.12% +1.20%
IE10 1.63% 1.53% -0.10% -6.10%
IE9 1.75% 1.61% -0.14% -8.00%
IE6/7/8 2.45% 2.14% -0.31% -12.70%
Edge 0.96% 1.10% +0.14% +14.60%
Chrome 53.24% 53.78% +0.54% +1.00%
Firefox 15.87% 15.52% -0.35% -2.20%
Safari 3.89% 4.10% +0.21% +5.40%
iPad Safari 5.25% 5.02% -0.23% -4.40%
Opera 1.76% 1.78% +0.02% +1.10%
Others 3.32% 3.42% +0.10% +3.00%

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, October 2014 to October 2015

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

Browser October 2014 October 2015 change relative
IE (all) 19.29% 15.28% -4.01% -20.80%
IE11 9.52% 10.00% +0.48% +5.00%
IE10 2.62% 1.53% -1.09% -41.60%
IE9 2.76% 1.61% -1.15% -41.70%
IE6/7/8 4.39% 2.14% -2.25% -51.30%
Chrome 47.71% 53.78% +6.07% +12.70%
Firefox 17.04% 15.52% -1.52% -8.90%
Safari 10.99% 9.12% -1.87% -17.00%
Opera 1.29% 1.78% +0.49% +38.00%
Others 3.68% 4.52% +0.84% +22.80%

(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. 8% of IE9 users switched browsers last month. There are several caveats so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated and StatCounter vs NetMarketShare.)

It’s boring to say this again, but Chrome had another good month with a 0.54% market share increase. No other browser could touch it. I’ve complained about Chrome’s faults in the past but one thing Google gets right is vendor lock-in:

  1. Your Chrome configuration follows you between devices and OS versions. You can install Chrome anywhere, log in and everything is as you left it. That’s a big bonus for power users and developers — we spend an inordinate amount of time tweaking software.
  2. Your Chrome bookmarks, extensions and apps are available everywhere. I would happily install Chrome just to use Postman and Carat to be instantly productive on an unfamiliar PC.
  3. If you’re using GMail, Drive or any other Google applications, Chrome will always offer the best experience and you’ll be logged in automatically.

Other browsers offer synchronization facilities but they’re not as sophisticated or essential. Switching away from Chrome is considerably more difficult — but that’s not a criticism. It’s likely the Google/Chrome lock-in evolved as accounts, features and apps became increasingly entwined. Few vendors can compete with that success.

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Proportionally, Microsoft Edge had the largest jump but it was starting from a relatively low point. Edge is a great browser and IE11 is generally well behaved but the older IE6 to IE10 versions still account for one in twenty users on average. You should analyze your own market and statistics but, in general, I rarely bother to test IE10 and below — you don’t necessarily need to when you adopt progressive enhancement.

Worldwide Mobile Browser Statistics, September to October 2015

Mobile usage increased a little during October to reach 41.12% of all web activity. The 50:50 mobile to desktop ratio remains on course.

The top mobile browsing applications:

Mobile Browser September October change relative
Chrome 34.38% 35.85% +1.47% +4.30%
UC Browser 16.82% 17.42% +0.60% +3.60%
iPhone 16.78% 16.38% -0.40% -2.40%
Android 13.59% 13.06% -0.53% -3.90%
Opera Mini/Mobile 13.32% 12.54% -0.78% -5.90%
IEMobile 1.99% 2.07% +0.08% +4.00%
Others 3.12% 2.68% -0.44% -14.10%

Only Chrome and UC Browser enjoyed significant growth during the month with most other browsers slipping. That’s understandable for older applications such as Android and Opera. However, the iPhone version of Safari has not increased for almost twelve months despite new hardware and ever-increasing Apple profits. The drop could be misleading: it’s possible the mobile market is growing faster than iPhone sales. Whatever the reason, competition is healthy and it’s no longer necessary to pay premium prices for great devices.

Browser Trends October 2015: Sustained Safari Slips

Chrome continued its meteoric growth mostly at IE’s expense in September’s browser trends. Is there better news for Microsoft in October’s StatCounter statistics? Er, no …

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, August to September 2015

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

Browser August September change relative
IE (all) 15.99% 15.71% -0.28% -1.80%
IE11 9.94% 9.88% -0.06% -0.60%
IE10 1.66% 1.63% -0.03% -1.80%
IE9 1.83% 1.75% -0.08% -4.40%
IE6/7/8 2.56% 2.45% -0.11% -4.30%
Edge 0.74% 0.96% +0.22% +29.70%
Chrome 52.97% 53.24% +0.27% +0.50%
Firefox 15.60% 15.87% +0.27% +1.70%
Safari 3.77% 3.89% +0.12% +3.20%
iPad Safari 5.53% 5.25% -0.28% -5.10%
Opera 1.79% 1.76% -0.03% -1.70%
Others 3.61% 3.32% -0.29% -8.00%

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, September 2014 to September 2015

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

Browser September 2014 September 2015 change relative
IE (all) 20.44% 15.71% -4.73% -23.10%
IE11 9.22% 9.88% +0.66% +7.20%
IE10 2.89% 1.63% -1.26% -43.60%
IE9 3.02% 1.75% -1.27% -42.10%
IE6/7/8 5.31% 2.45% -2.86% -53.90%
Chrome 45.67% 53.24% +7.57% +16.60%
Firefox 17.43% 15.87% -1.56% -9.00%
Safari 11.20% 9.14% -2.06% -18.40%
Opera 1.36% 1.76% +0.40% +29.40%
Others 3.90% 4.28% +0.38% +9.70%

(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. 5.1% of iPad Safari users switched browsers last month. There are several caveats, so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated and StatCounter vs NetMarketShare.)

Chrome enjoyed another good month and is rapidly approaching levels not seen since the early years of the millennium during IE’s monopolistic reign. Chrome remains a good browser, although I’ve found it more problematic recently. It has a glutinous appetite for memory, and I’ve experienced several ten-minute start-up times (yes, ten minutes — not seconds). If you want the Blink rendering engine and developer tools without the cruft, try Opera. It’s never let me down. Alternatively, Vivaldi offers a great experience for Opera 12 fans, although it’s still a preview release.

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In other news, Firefox has finally overtaken Internet Explorer after thirteen years of trying! Kind of. The combined versions of Firefox are 0.16% above the combined versions of IE but, once you include Edge, the Microsoft applications are 0.8% ahead. That said, there are few reasons for Mozilla or Microsoft to celebrate. Both browsers have been slipping.

Which brings me to Safari. Apple’s browsers had a reasonable September, but the overall trend is downward. The OS X edition of Safari plummeted over the year and lost almost 20% of its user base. The iPad edition has propped up figures but, despite being the only real iOS browser, usage appears to have plateaued. Even the iPhone version of Safari has been overtaken by UC Browser.

Apple may not care. It remains the world’s largest company, and its products continue to sell well. It seems Apple has the resources but not the will to keep Safari relevant. Perhaps it’s to be expected: the company’s 30% cut of app revenues reduces to 0% on the web.

Complacency has been the cause of many historic downfalls. The browser market is fickle; developers and testers will abandon Safari if the userbase dwindles further. That will inevitably lead to an increasing number of web compatibility issues, and even the most passionate Apple fanboys will begin to reconsider their choices.

The solution? Apple should either embrace the web (again) or permit other vendors to produce alternative iOS browsers and free the platform from Safari’s shackles.

Worldwide Mobile Browser Statistics, August to September 2015

Mobile usage slipped half a point during September and now stands at 40.96% of all web activity. The upward trend continues despite this blip.

The top mobile browsing applications:

Mobile Browser August September change relative
Chrome 33.52% 34.38% +0.86% +2.60%
UC Browser 15.87% 16.82% +0.95% +6.00%
iPhone 17.54% 16.78% -0.76% -4.30%
Android 14.46% 13.59% -0.87% -6.00%
Opera Mini/Mobile 13.17% 13.32% +0.15% +1.10%
IEMobile 2.02% 1.99% -0.03% -1.50%
Others 3.42% 3.12% -0.30% -8.80%

As mentioned, the biggest surprise is the iPhone (Safari) falling behind UC Browser, which is phenomenally popular in Asia. Only Chrome came close to matching UC’s growth, although its gains came at the expense of the older Android browser.

Opera remained stable, owing to strong usage in Asia and especially Africa, where it has a Chrome-busting 65% of the mobile market.

Browser Trends October 2015: Sustained Safari Slips

Chrome continued its meteoric growth mostly at IE’s expense in September’s browser trends. Is there better news for Microsoft in October’s StatCounter statistics? Er, no …

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, August to September 2015

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

Browser August September change relative
IE (all) 15.99% 15.71% -0.28% -1.80%
IE11 9.94% 9.88% -0.06% -0.60%
IE10 1.66% 1.63% -0.03% -1.80%
IE9 1.83% 1.75% -0.08% -4.40%
IE6/7/8 2.56% 2.45% -0.11% -4.30%
Edge 0.74% 0.96% +0.22% +29.70%
Chrome 52.97% 53.24% +0.27% +0.50%
Firefox 15.60% 15.87% +0.27% +1.70%
Safari 3.77% 3.89% +0.12% +3.20%
iPad Safari 5.53% 5.25% -0.28% -5.10%
Opera 1.79% 1.76% -0.03% -1.70%
Others 3.61% 3.32% -0.29% -8.00%

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, September 2014 to September 2015

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

Browser September 2014 September 2015 change relative
IE (all) 20.44% 15.71% -4.73% -23.10%
IE11 9.22% 9.88% +0.66% +7.20%
IE10 2.89% 1.63% -1.26% -43.60%
IE9 3.02% 1.75% -1.27% -42.10%
IE6/7/8 5.31% 2.45% -2.86% -53.90%
Chrome 45.67% 53.24% +7.57% +16.60%
Firefox 17.43% 15.87% -1.56% -9.00%
Safari 11.20% 9.14% -2.06% -18.40%
Opera 1.36% 1.76% +0.40% +29.40%
Others 3.90% 4.28% +0.38% +9.70%

(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. 5.1% of iPad Safari users switched browsers last month. There are several caveats, so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated and StatCounter vs NetMarketShare.)

Chrome enjoyed another good month and is rapidly approaching levels not seen since the early years of the millennium during IE’s monopolistic reign. Chrome remains a good browser, although I’ve found it more problematic recently. It has a glutinous appetite for memory, and I’ve experienced several ten-minute start-up times (yes, ten minutes — not seconds). If you want the Blink rendering engine and developer tools without the cruft, try Opera. It’s never let me down. Alternatively, Vivaldi offers a great experience for Opera 12 fans, although it’s still a preview release.

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In other news, Firefox has finally overtaken Internet Explorer after thirteen years of trying! Kind of. The combined versions of Firefox are 0.16% above the combined versions of IE but, once you include Edge, the Microsoft applications are 0.8% ahead. That said, there are few reasons for Mozilla or Microsoft to celebrate. Both browsers have been slipping.

Which brings me to Safari. Apple’s browsers had a reasonable September, but the overall trend is downward. The OS X edition of Safari plummeted over the year and lost almost 20% of its user base. The iPad edition has propped up figures but, despite being the only real iOS browser, usage appears to have plateaued. Even the iPhone version of Safari has been overtaken by UC Browser.

Apple may not care. It remains the world’s largest company, and its products continue to sell well. It seems Apple has the resources but not the will to keep Safari relevant. Perhaps it’s to be expected: the company’s 30% cut of app revenues reduces to 0% on the web.

Complacency has been the cause of many historic downfalls. The browser market is fickle; developers and testers will abandon Safari if the userbase dwindles further. That will inevitably lead to an increasing number of web compatibility issues, and even the most passionate Apple fanboys will begin to reconsider their choices.

The solution? Apple should either embrace the web (again) or permit other vendors to produce alternative iOS browsers and free the platform from Safari’s shackles.

Worldwide Mobile Browser Statistics, August to September 2015

Mobile usage slipped half a point during September and now stands at 40.96% of all web activity. The upward trend continues despite this blip.

The top mobile browsing applications:

Mobile Browser August September change relative
Chrome 33.52% 34.38% +0.86% +2.60%
UC Browser 15.87% 16.82% +0.95% +6.00%
iPhone 17.54% 16.78% -0.76% -4.30%
Android 14.46% 13.59% -0.87% -6.00%
Opera Mini/Mobile 13.17% 13.32% +0.15% +1.10%
IEMobile 2.02% 1.99% -0.03% -1.50%
Others 3.42% 3.12% -0.30% -8.80%

As mentioned, the biggest surprise is the iPhone (Safari) falling behind UC Browser, which is phenomenally popular in Asia. Only Chrome came close to matching UC’s growth, although its gains came at the expense of the older Android browser.

Opera remained stable, owing to strong usage in Asia and especially Africa, where it has a Chrome-busting 65% of the mobile market.

Browser Trends September 2015: IE’s Demise Edges Closer

In August, Chrome exceeded one in every two users for the first time. Can it keep up the pace in September’s StatCounter statistics? …

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, July to August 2015

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

Browser July August change relative
IE (all) 17.18% 15.99% -1.19% -6.90%
IE11 10.84% 9.94% -0.90% -8.30%
IE10 1.73% 1.66% -0.07% -4.00%
IE9 1.95% 1.83% -0.12% -6.20%
IE6/7/8 2.66% 2.56% -0.10% -3.80%
Edge 0.05% 0.74% +0.69% +1,380.00%
Chrome 51.89% 52.97% +1.08% +2.10%
Firefox 15.68% 15.60% -0.08% -0.50%
Safari 4.20% 3.77% -0.43% -10.20%
iPad Safari 5.54% 5.53% -0.01% -0.20%
Opera 1.81% 1.79% -0.02% -1.10%
Others 3.65% 3.61% -0.04% -1.10%

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, August 2014 to August 2015

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

Browser August 2014 August 2015 change relative
IE (all) 20.31% 15.99% -4.32% -21.30%
IE11 9.10% 9.94% +0.84% +9.20%
IE10 3.05% 1.66% -1.39% -45.60%
IE9 3.12% 1.83% -1.29% -41.30%
IE6/7/8 5.04% 2.56% -2.48% -49.20%
Chrome 46.37% 52.97% +6.60% +14.20%
Firefox 17.48% 15.60% -1.88% -10.80%
Safari 10.80% 9.30% -1.50% -13.90%
Opera 1.42% 1.79% +0.37% +26.10%
Others 3.62% 4.35% +0.73% +20.20%

(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. 10.2% of OS X Safari users switched browsers last month. There are several caveats so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated and StatCounter vs NetMarketShare.)

Chrome had another amazing month. I was expecting growth to slow but the normal 1% service has been resumed and usage now stands at 53%.

Microsoft’s Edge was the only other browser to make a gain with a 0.7% jump. That’s less than the 1.34% IE11 enjoyed when it was launched in October 2013, but it’s impressive when you consider all Edge users had to install and configure a new OS to get the browser. Edge has been generally well received. It doesn’t beat the competition and there are a few missing features but it’s very fast, capable and shows promise.

In total, Internet Explorer fell by almost 1.2% and will slip behind Firefox next month if the trend continues. While some have migrated to Edge, one in thirty IE users went elsewhere. IE is unlikely to die soon, given it’s the only Microsoft browser on Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8, but it’s increasingly irrelevant. IE versions 6 to 10 account for just 6% of the market.

Firefox and Opera lost a little ground, but Safari had a more dramatic dip. It’s been propped up by the iPad edition for several months, but usage may have plateaued on that platform.

Worldwide Mobile Browser Statistics, July to August 2015

Mobile use had another massive 2.02% hike during August to reach 41.50% of all web activity. It’s grown more than 5% in two months and the promised 50:50 split looms closer.

The top mobile browsing applications:

Mobile Browser July August change relative
Chrome 33.82% 33.52% -0.30% -0.90%
iPhone 18.96% 17.54% -1.42% -7.50%
UC Browser 14.93% 15.87% +0.94% +6.30%
Android 15.16% 14.46% -0.70% -4.60%
Opera Mini/Mobile 11.63% 13.17% +1.54% +13.20%
IEMobile 2.11% 2.02% -0.09% -4.30%
Others 3.39% 3.42% +0.03% +0.90%

It was an unusual month. Chrome, the older Android application and the iPhone edition of Safari all dropped.

UC Browser overtook Android to take third position in the chart — an amazing achievement for a browser which isn’t installed by default and barely registers above 1% in America and Europe. However, it’s the most popular mobile browser in Asia (25%) and is especially strong in India (49.0%) and China (38.3%).

Opera was the only other browser to make a gain. Similarly, it has a powerful following in Africa (62.4%) and Asia again (13.9%).

Today’s lesson: don’t underestimate the rapidly expanding African and Asian markets!

Browser Trends August 2015: Chrome Exceeds 50%

In last month’s browser chart, Chrome had been struggling to jump above 50% usage. The browser fares better in July’s StatCounter statistics

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, June to July 2015

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

Browser June July change relative
IE (all) 18.49% 17.18% -1.31% -7.10%
IE11 11.33% 10.84% -0.49% -4.30%
IE10 1.83% 1.73% -0.10% -5.50%
IE9 2.20% 1.95% -0.25% -11.40%
IE6/7/8 3.13% 2.66% -0.47% -15.00%
Edge 0.00% 0.05% +0.05% n/a
Chrome 49.77% 51.89% +2.12% +4.30%
Firefox 16.09% 15.68% -0.41% -2.50%
Safari 5.41% 4.20% -1.21% -22.40%
iPad Safari 5.14% 5.54% +0.40% +7.80%
Opera 1.62% 1.81% +0.19% +11.70%
Others 3.48% 3.65% +0.17% +4.90%

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, July 2014 to July 2015

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

Browser July 2014 July 2015 change relative
IE (all) 21.36% 17.18% -4.18% -19.60%
IE11 9.08% 10.84% +1.76% +19.40%
IE10 3.34% 1.73% -1.61% -48.20%
IE9 3.30% 1.95% -1.35% -40.90%
IE6/7/8 5.64% 2.66% -2.98% -52.80%
Chrome 45.39% 51.89% +6.50% +14.30%
Firefox 17.50% 15.68% -1.82% -10.40%
Safari 10.57% 9.74% -0.83% -7.90%
Opera 1.34% 1.81% +0.47% +35.10%
Others 3.84% 3.70% -0.14% -3.60%

(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. 22.4% of OS X Safari users switched browsers last month. There are several caveats so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated and StatCounter vs NetMarketShare.)

Congratulations Google. Chrome leaped more than 2% in July and is now used by half of all desktop users — a figure not seen since IE’s “glory” days. While there’s little difference between the top browsers, Chrome is almost as good or slightly better than others in most areas. That said, there’s a new competitor on the block …

Microsoft’s new Edge browser was released with Windows 10 on July 29, 2015. It’s had minimal impact on the charts so far but that will change:

  1. Initial indications are promising. Edge is unobtrusive, very fast, looks good and has some interesting features.
  2. Edge will become your default browser in Windows 10 unless you change settings during the update or after installation.
  3. Legal restrictions have ended. Microsoft has served time, paid the fines and satisfied the US and EU regulators. Google and Apple now pose a bigger threat.

Look out for a full review of Edge on SitePoint soon.

The only other browser to increase market share this month was Opera. 0.19% may not sound much and the figures can fluctuate but the browser has reached a level not seen since 2012. I find myself turning to Opera regularly. It’s not the browser it once was, but it’s faster than Chrome and ideal for testing. Opera is reporting a 70% speed increase for version 31.

It was grim news for other vendors. All versions of IE dropped, Firefox slipped below 16% and Safari on OS X lost more than a fifth of users. The iPad version of Safari increased a little but it still lost 0.8% overall.

Worldwide Mobile Browser Statistics, June to July 2015

Mobile usage grew by a massive 3.2% last month to reach 39.48% of all web activity. That’s a huge leap. The summer months in the Northern hemisphere may be partly responsible but mobile usage rarely drops.

The top mobile browsing applications:

Mobile Browser June July change relative
Chrome 32.97% 33.82% +0.85% +2.60%
iPhone 18.84% 18.96% +0.12% +0.60%
Android 15.71% 15.16% -0.55% -3.50%
UC Browser 14.91% 14.93% +0.02% +0.10%
Opera Mini/Mobile 11.93% 11.63% -0.30% -2.50%
IEMobile 2.06% 2.11% +0.05% +2.40%
Others 3.58% 3.39% -0.19% -5.30%

The numbers may have risen but the browser share proportions remained mostly static. Chrome increase is offset by the drop in Android usage but it’s rapidly gaining on its desktop counterpart.

There is a large variety of mobile browsers but choice remains fairly limited. iPhone users are forced to use Safari (regardless of what they think they’re using). Chrome beats most competitors by a significant margin on Android. Windows users have few alternatives to IE Mobile and those with a feature phone won’t find better than Opera. Only UC Browser has made an impact — it’s owned and promoted by Alibaba which is huge in China and India (think Amazon, but 50% bigger!)

Those who upgrade regularly tend to stick with the OS they love and few try alternative browsers. However, the market is not kind to those who let their systems and browsers stagnate. Apple: do you really want to be the next Nokia or Blackberry? …