Browser Update 2011

With just a few days left in 2011, I’ve taken a moment to have a look at the web statistics for this site, with a view to having a look at how the ongoing browser wars are travelling.

In March, I had a look at how things had been over the previous six months, and found that Google Chrome was emerging as the big winner over that period.

I was, however, curious to have a look at a bigger picture over the last four years for which I have detailed statistics – and while it has slipped a lot, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer isn’t quite dead yet.

The following table shows the annual percentage of hits on this site since 2008, that have originated from browsers identifying themselves as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Apple Safari – the four main browsers in the marketplace these days:

  2008 2009 2010 2011
IE 46.1% 65.2% 48.8% 27.9%
Chrome 3.2% 9.9% 20.1%
Firefox 21.2% 20.0% 22.4% 25.8%
Safari 3.7% 3.8% 6.9% 9.0%

The most obvious thing to note from these numbers, is that while Internet Explorer’s market share has taken a hammering over the last couple of years – (dropping from 65.2% in 2009 to 27.9% in 2011) – it still leads the field.

On a monthly basis however, Chrome often beats IE into first place.

I feel that tends to be because of the subject matter I post month to month – in months that I post a lot of “techy” or “nerdy” stuff, Chrome tends to win – suggesting that Chrome has gotten, or is getting, a foothold amongst the geeks. I don’t think this is a surprise.

In months where I post predominantly other kinds of material, Internet Explorer does well.

Interestingly, the share of the market held by Firefox – the previous geek favourite – has remained relatively stable across the four years, and actually recorded its best year on this site in 2011. Go figure.

Perennially fourth placed Safari is still on the rise – but I suspect this is largely due to the proliferation of the Safari-equipped Apple iPad and iPhone in the community. For this reason, Safari’s share will be interesting to watch over time.

While Internet Explorer remains on top – (at least with visitors to my site) – it is clear that the massive share of the market it previously enjoyed is on the wain.

It seems the majority of people who have jumped the IE ship have landed on Chrome, but even Firefox – (which by anecdotal evidence seemed to be on the slide) – appears to have picked up some of the IE refugees, with a healthy gain in 2011.

Internet Explorer still rules – but the challengers have their foot on its throat.