You’ve probably tried several web browsers and have determined which one is your favorite. But have you ever wondered which are the most popular web browsers among Internet users? You might be surprised to learn that Microsoft’s infamous Internet Explorer is still the most popular option, but Google’s Chrome is gaining users quickly.
VentureBeat’s Emil Protalinski reports that April saw the naming of Microsoft Edge, the release of Chrome 42, and the first full month of Firefox 37 availability. Between March and April, Google Chrome finally passed the 25% user share milestone, according to Net Applications, which uses data captured from 160 million unique visitors to about 40,000 websites. As Computer World’s Gregg Keizer notes, user share acts as an estimate of the percentage of the world’s Internet users who ran a specific web browser during a given month.
The latest figures from Net Applications show that Internet Explorer’s market share fell by 0.71 points to 55.83%, while Chrome’s market share rose 0.69 points to 25.68%. Firefox’s market share fell 0.19 points to 11.70%. Safari’s market share rose 0.12 points to 5.12%, and Opera’s market share rose 0.05 points to 0.48%.
Protalinski reports that while Internet Explorer’s market share fell overall, there was still good news for Microsoft’s browser. The latest version of Internet Explorer, IE11, grew 0.82 percentage points while IE10 and IE9 slipped 0.17 and 0.21 percentage points, and IE8 fell 1.26 percentage points. Among even older versions of Internet Explorer, IE7 gained just 0.03 points to reach 0.37%, and IE6 fell 0.06 points to 0.92%. In October, IE11 passed IE8 to become the world’s most popular browser, and the gap between them continues to widen.
The trend toward adoption of the latest versions of Internet Explorer was catalyzed by the loss of significant market share by Windows XP, whose users can’t upgrade past IE8. (As of January 2016, Microsoft will support IE9 only on Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, IE10 only on Windows Server 2012, and only IE11 on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 R2, and Windows 10.) Protalinski notes that IE11 can now grow “unchallenged” until Microsoft’s new browser, Edge, arrives.
As is typical with Google Chrome, older versions of the browser continued to lose market share as Chrome 42 gained market share. Chrome 41 slipped 1.80%, Chrome 40 fell by 5.56 percentage points, and even older versions lost market share as users adopted the newest version.
Meanwhile, Mozilla’s Firefox has continued to hit new lows for months, but its built-in upgrade system consistently sees users upgrading to newest versions of the browser. Firefox 37 gained 6.12 percentage points to hit 6.45%, while Firefox 36 dropped 5.24 percentage points and Firefox 35 fell by 1.21 percentage points.
Keizer reports that Mozilla’s Firefox reached the 25% user share milestone that Chrome just achieved in November 2009, when its user share was just over 25%. Firefox held onto that user share for a month, dipped under it, and then regained it again in March and April 2010, when it peaked at 25.1%. After that, Keizer notes, Firefox went into “more or less permanent decline.”
Mozilla’s position in the browser marketplace is growing increasingly tenuous, and in the last 10 months, Firefox has lost more than 5 percentage points. The biggest benefactor of Firefox’s losses has been Chrome, which has gained 7.8 percentage points in the past year, representing an increase of 47%.
As Business Cheat Sheet reported recently, Civic Science surveyed 1,287 adults in April to figure out what consumers’ preferences in Internet browsers say about them. Among the users that Civic Science surveyed, Google Chrome was the top web browser choice, followed by Internet Explorer, with 37% reporting that Google Chrome is their browser of choice, 29% choosing Internet Explorer, 21% picking Firefox, 10% favoring Safari, and 4% reporting that their favorite Internet browser was one other than the choices offered.
The report found that Google Chrome is the top choice of millennials who keep up with the latest trends and new products, while Internet Explorer is the browser of choice among older individuals, who have grandchildren and a high rate of home ownership.
The users who prefer Mozilla’s Firefox fall somewhere in between the characteristics of Chrome and Internet Explorer fans, and based on the smaller amounts of data gathered on those who prefer Safari, they tend to align more closely with Chrome users and skew younger and slightly more female.