It has been a long held belief, and data has supported it, that Internet Explorer, due in large part to its ties to the dominant desktop operating system, has been the most used browser out there. Now, the data has shown that things are narrowing which begs the question, what browser is really #1?
Why do I ask this question? I've been a long time user of StatCounter.com on my blog to track some statistics and focused primarily on page views, but I recently also set up Google Analytics to see what data it provides. In light of the recent announcement about Chrome OS, I was also curious how the Chrome Browser was being adopted.
In browsing through what it has to offer I came across its browser report where not only was IE not #1, it wasn't even #2 with Safari beating it out. I also found it interesting that Chrome is at nearly 4%.
But clearly, a handful of hits on my blog is likely not representative of the broader market. Additionally, I likely have a significant audience from Sun which may help skew the results towards Firefox and Safari. And the general audience that reads my blog is probably more technical and likely to be using alternative browsers. So what else can we look at?
The May report from Market Share By Net Applications shows what one might expect with IE at 65.5% followed by Firefox at 22.5%, Safari at 8.4%, and Chrome at only 1.8%.
For another perspective, w3schools.com lists their stats and for the month of June, Firefox is at 47.3%, the sum for IE 40.7%, and Chrome beating out Safari 6.0% to 3.1%. Again, a more technical audience leads to greater use of Firefox and Chrome.
Last, going back to where I started with my stat gathering, StatCounter.com has global stats for the past year and while the data shows similar results to Market Share above, approximately 60% IE, 30% Firefox, and everything else in the weeds, since it looks at the past year you can see a trend of IE losing about 10% points.
Will this gradual decline continue? It's hard to say, but I can say that competition and choice is good and in the end the consumer wins.
It is also very interesting to see the platforms StatCounter.com reports. This shows that 95+% of their traffic is coming from Windows meaning that even where the provided default is IE, approximately a third of those folks make the choice and effort to switch.
So what does all this data show us? Clearly, IE is still #1 amongst the general population. But technical audiences, those that both have the knowledge to make a choice and the aptitude and interest to execute on that and install something other than the default, are seemingly beginning to abandon IE in favor of the competition.
I'll continue to look at this in the future and report back!