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Browser Trends

Posted @ 12:52 pm by Grady Kuhnline | Category: Technology | 2 Comments

In the past I’ve posted about trends in IE6 usage and how that might affect our approach to building websites. Before, I had predicted that the adoption of Windows 7 would be a heavy factor in the phasing out of IE6. I downloaded the latest stats from the Stat Counter website for Operating Systems and Browser Versions since Windows 7 was released in October 2009 and there’s some interesting trends in there that closely match what one would expect.

IE Continues to Dominate

(Browser market share since October 2009, the release of Windows 7)

Above, you can see the browser market share from October 2009 through July 2010. You can see a few obvious things from that line graph. Two of the top 3 browsers are Internet Explorer. IE8 is on the rise, IE7 is dropping rapidly, Chrome has overtaken Safari, and Firefox has a solid grip on the number 2 browser spot. Those trends are more pronounced when you plot only the market share changes for that same period.

(Browser market share changes since October 2009, the release of Windows 7)

The above graph of market share changes from October 2009 through July 2010 reveals some interesting trends. As expected, IE8 is rising in market share aggressively while IE7 is dropping. In the time since Windows 7 has been released, IE8 has risen more than 12% while IE7 has dropped more than 10% and IE6 dropped more than 3%. This shows that IE8 is mainly cannibalizing the market share of the other two IE browsers (which is expected). In fact, overall IE usage has dropped 1% since Windows 7 came out and that appears to have been taken by Chrome.

Chrome is the other important browser to watch as it has finally edged out Safari to become the number 3 browser. Chrome appears to be competing directly with Firefox and is not affecting Safari’s market share at all.  Chrome rose more than 4% while Firefox dropped 3% and IE dropped more than 1%. Safari’s market share seems to be locked to that of OS X and showed no losses or gains since the release of Windows 7.

Windows 7 Stealing Equally from Vista and XP

(OS market share since October 2009)

In the chart above, the impressive adoption rate of Windows 7 is evident. It’s the only Operating system making any positive gains which makes sense because it’s the latest version of the most used operating system. What’s more interesting is that Windows 7 is stealing nearly equal market share from both Windows Vista and Windows XP. Again, looking at only the changes in market share is even more revealing.

(OS market share changes since October 2009)

The chart above also shows that the market share for OS X is staying largely static. Since Windows 7 was released its share has increased nearly 18% while XP and Vista have dropped around 9% each.

Browser Share vs. OS Share

(Browser share changes and OS share changes since October 2009)

The chart above shows the trends for operating systems along with some select browsers; older version of IE and Windows are grouped. IE8 adoption is in line with adoption of Windows 7 but isn’t directly related, IE is being upgraded on XP and Vista as well. Safari and OS X have nearly identical market shares. While all of this is somewhat expected, it’s still interesting to see that it’s actually playing out in real life.

IE8 will continue to be the dominant browser until at least the end of 2011. IE9 isn’t expected to come out until early-to-mid 2011. By that time Windows 7 will likely be the most used operating system and IE6 usage will likely be approaching 1%. Windows XP is the only OS left that natively supports IE6 but it is only losing abut 1% a month which means IE6 will be killed by switching to Chrome/Firefox or upgrading to IE8/9 and not by upgrading to Windows 7.

Bad news for IE

(Browser market share since March 2009, the release of IE8)

Moving the time line back to the release of  IE8 in March of 2009, it’s easy to see that IE8 adoption is unrelated to the adoption of Windows 7 (otherwise there’d be an obvious spike starting in October 2009). Chrome is again the other interesting story. It’s the only alternative browser that’s making any headway, while Firefox is mainly holding its ground and IE overall continues to slip.

(Browser market share changes since March 2009, the release of IE8)

Since March 2009, IE8 has risen 32% while IE7 has fallen 35%. IE overall has fallen 12% (IE6 accounts for 10% of the losses)  since the release of IE8, largely due to the steady rise of alternative browsers like Chrome and Firefox. IE has continued to lose market share steadily over time and while that attrition used to be in Firefox’s favor, it’s increasingly benefiting Chrome.

What’s likely happening is IE8 replacing IE7 as an easy upgrade for users that already dropped IE6 while alternative browsers continue to chip away at IE’s overall share as casual users become more familiar with non-IE browsers. IE6′s losses in market share are likely the result of normal computer upgrade cycles and better corporate adoption of newer IE versions or alternative browsers.


  • IE8′s market share is rapidly increasing
  • IE7′s market share is rapidly declining
  • IE6 is less used than Safari and is dropping more than 1% every 4 months.
  • Even though IE8 is growing, IE overall is losing market share
  • Safari’s usage is heavily tied to OS X’s market share
  • Chrome is stealing most of its market share from Firefox and a little from IE
  • While Windows 7 is likely helping, IE7 and IE6 are dying mostly because of IE8 adoption and the increasing popularity of Chrome and Firefox.


  • Firefox 4 is expected to be released in November 2010
  • IE9 is expected to be released in the first half of 2011
  • IE is the last major browser vendor that does not have an HTML5 capable browser on the market


  • IE7 will drop below 1% before IE6 does
  • Both IE7 and IE6 will be around 1% in the United States by the end of 2011
  • Windows 7 will overtake both Vista and XP by the end of 2011
  • IE9 will see the same steady 2-3% a month increases that IE8 experienced
  • IE’s overall market share will dip below 50% in 2011

2 thoughts on “Browser Trends

  1. SEO Perth says:

    Microsoft’s venerable Internet Explorer is still the dominant choice for most of the planet’s web surfers. IE still holds 60% share which is more than double than its closest competitor, Firefox, who only managed to rake in 24.32%. Google’s Chrome is a far third with 7%.

  2. Ray Massie says:

    IE overall share is now below 50%:


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