Internet Explorer Slipping?

I am an avid watcher of the statistics of visits to my websites, because a wide range of interesting trends may be visible before they are widely recognised, particularly in terms of browser use.

In recent months, I’ve been looking closely at the percentage of visits to my sites from various web browsers, and I have seen that there has been sudden and recent change – raising the question “is Microsoft’s Internet Explorer slipping away?”

Here is a comparison of the four major browsers – Internet Explorer (IE), Mozilla Firefox (MF), Google Chrome (GC), and Apple Safari (AS) – over the last six months in terms of percentage share of visits to this site:

Oct 2010   50.5% 20.6% 9.2% 7.8%
Nov 2010   55.3% 21.5% 6.3% 8.5%
Dec 2010   51.5% 20.9% 8.0% 9.8%
Jan 2011   53.3% 20.3% 6.3% 10.9%
Feb 2011   24.3% 35.1% 19.9% 7.2%
Mar 2011   18.5% 18.7% 29.3% 7.9%

At a quick glance, it would seem Safari generally doesn’t change much on a month-to-month basis. Given the the predominant installed based of Safari is on Macintosh computers and Apple’s mobile devices, this number is more likely to move if the Apple’s share of the hardware market changes significantly, and this does not happen on a month-to-month basis.

This leaves us with Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome.

Throughout the life of my site with its current hosting provider – (since mid-2008) – Internet Explorer has always been above 40% of site visits, and in the last 12 months it has always held at least 50% share – at least until February just past.

Firefox – with the exception of a few “blips”, such as that in February – has generally hovered around the 20% mark since my current batch of statistics began.

Chrome is however, the big mover. It’s almost always been below 10% since statistics began – until last month. In February it jumped to 19.9%, and so far in March is sitting on 29.3%. In the same months, Internet Explorer dropped from its usual 50% range, to 24.3% and then 18.5%.

Two big jumps for Chrome, coinciding with two big drops for Internet Explorer.

Of course this is hardly a scientific study, and the recent release of IE9 may see it recover some ground – but it will be interesting to see next months numbers, and understand if this trend is a brief one, or will be more sustained.

Stay tuned.