Firefox Closes in on 25% of the Market

One of the favorite activities of journalists, bloggers, and other putters-of-things-in-print is to declare the impending doom and/or death of this or that. We won't be engaging in the practice today, but we will happily report that the Browser Wars are alive and well, and continuing to take a toll on the market leader.

This month's market share statistics, as collected by NetApplications' NetMarketShare service, paint an increasingly-familiar picture of the continued growth of diversity in the browser market. Firefox, which has been growing steadily over the past several years, gained more than a quarter of a percentage point in March — a figure that may seem small, but considering the billion-plus users of the internet, represents millions of additional users. That increase brings Firefox's share to 24.52%, within a mere half a percent of controlling one-fourth of the global browser market.

Google's Chrome gained steadily as well, coming in up 0.52% to top out at 6.13% — not bad for a browser that seized a full 1% of the market in its first twenty-four hours. The other two major contenders, Safari and Opera, posted 0.2% and 0.02% gains, respectively, to claim a combined 7% of the market.

The market leader, of course, is Internet Explorer, which was the only one of the major browsers not to post an increase in share — indeed, IE lost nearly a full percentage point during the month of March, bringing its share to 60.65% of the market.

This continues a decline that has been going strong for at least the past two years. Since April 2008 (the earliest statistics available from Net Applications), Internet Explorer has lost nearly 20% of the market, dropping from over three-quarters in 2008 to well under two-thirds today.

The majority of those losses have been to Firefox, which has shown explosive growth, gaining some 7.5% of the market in the past two years. Safari has nearly doubled its share in the same period, while Opera has seen considerably less growth. Chrome, which was first released in September 2008, has shown the most dramatic growth, growing from no share at all to more than 6% of the market in the past eighteen months.

Though the numbers represent the continuation of a long-term trend, one browser-maker is attributing its growth to a different cause. The European Commission settled its antitrust claims over Windows-IE bundling in December with an agreement that Windows users in the European Union would be presented with a "choice screen" allowing them to choose an alternate browser as their default.

The screen, which offers a choice of the top five browsers, displayed randomly, went into full deployment in early March — according to Opera, by mid-month it had already seen a dramatic spike in downloads, in some cases as much as 328%. Other manufacturers have not commented on any particular gains.

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Justin Ryan is the News Editor for Linux Journal.

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Konqueror is at 0.04 %

Vikram's picture

Good to see Konqueror is at 0.04 % !

Written using Konqueror 4.4 on Arch Linux

Need more serious competition

Anonymous's picture

25% is decent, and just about high enough. What is needed now is more competitors of similar strength. A healthy market is when there's > 5 reasonably sized competitors, and none of them controlling more than 30% of the market. Even MS is welcome as a strong player in the market, but should not be allowed to control shares of more than 30 or 40% for any of their products.

I have more than 25% FF

Anonymous's picture

On the site where I am the webmaster, in the last 31 days it has been 56.7% IE, 30.6% Firefox, 3.9% Chrome, 2.5% Opera. However, there are lots of ways to measure it, so this is an approximation.

Opera has wrong name

u64's picture

Opera and Firefox are very similar in many ways but
i cant understand why they dont have similar market-share...

I've tried again to get family and friends to use it
but they just shake thier heads when i mention
that it's a great browser called Opera. Yet those same
former IE-persons happily began using Chrome and Firefox
and even Safari.
But never Opera. Why?

I'm thinking of doing an experiment by simply renaming
the shortcut to 'Internet' and and changing icon to
somthing else...

Why people dont use Opera

Treah's picture

This is exactly the reason why. "Up to this point, Opera was trialware and had to be purchased after the trial period ended. Version 5.0 (released in 2000)"(Quote taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opera_%28web_browser%29)

Many people remember Opera as a non free browser and it kinida just stuck. Even I thought that it was still a pay for browser until I looked it up. Firefox has never have to be bought and IE hides its cost in the cost for windows.

I agree

Antero's picture

On thing even Linux-users don't remember is that Opera is as proprierity software as IE-browser. I've tried several times Opera with Linux and i have to say that Chromium was much more impressive than Opera 10.5. Besides Chromium is an open source browser (unlike Chrome).

I don't use or recommend Internet Explorer...

Anonymous's picture

...so F* 'em.
Obviously, IE's trolling fan-boys are actively arguing and steadfast in these comments.

Good Luck to you guys.

Are these numbers reliable at all?

Matias's picture

I have strong doubts that especially Net Application with 76% of it's source websites being pay-per-click can't give you the real numbers of browser war.

It is not a lie, it is only a manipulation

macias's picture

"in some cases as much as 328%".

In some cases? Ok, then show me those cases (plural).

Little scary point here. NetMarket Share is depending on ads.

oiaohm's picture

So you could basically double the firefox numbers to allow for how many are hidden by items like adblock and still be way short.

Basically by the time NetMarket Share shows IE as 50 percent they are basically screwed in the market

Ie allowing for the defect in NetMarket number collection then compare to w3schools their numbers closely match. w3schools is site based not advertisement based. Yep IE at 35% market share sounds about right.

No, wait...

Dan Dart's picture

If you're talking about overall market share, Firefox has about 47%, IE 40% (of which IE6 9-15%), Chrome 10%.

Source: http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp

that seems right from my personal data, too

apexwm's picture

Those numbers from W3schools.com seem more accurate. If that's true, Firefox has gained significant ground over the past couple of years. As I mentioned I run a website hosting company and have looked at our recent server logs. I too show Firefox around 42%, but I also show IE around 42% as well. Opera, Chrome, and Safari make up the rest. I wish Firefox had an even higher market share. It's a great browser.

FF has not grown since last autumn

Matias's picture

If you check to numbers you'll notice that FF grew until mid 2009 but after that Mozilla browser hasn't got any significian growth. It's Chrome/Chromium which is growing rapidly.

I would like to know a little

tuxy's picture

I would like to know a little bit more about how the data is gathered, I do not know how firefox is not 90% based on what I see happening around me, and lastly browser usage is not the same as browser preference.

It's 25%+ ...

apexwm's picture

I've seen numbers closer to 30% in some studies. But 25% seems to be the average amount. I also collect data and last month I showed Firefox and IE head to head at around 42% each, however I think those numbers don't sample a big enough audience. I think Firefox is gaining ground because users are fed up with Internet Explorer as a huge security problem. Personally I use Firefox and I use Linux (not Windows), which adds an extra layer of security that can't be beat.

http://members.apex-internet.com/sa/windowslinux

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