Browser Wars: Usage stats for October 2011

Chrome’s meteoric rise continues while Internet Explorer’s usage plummets – a sentiment related in some way or another in two years or more of monthly web browser usage statistics articles.

This month is no different, but it has a twist: Ars Technica, who reports on browser statistics using the data from Net Applications, recently published an article that said Internet Explorer (IE) usage has dropped below the 50% mark.

At MyBroadband we use StatCounter’s data, mainly because they let us easily filter for South African stats. According to them, IE dipped below 50% worldwide usage back in September 2010.

The difference may be explained by the way the two trackers measure usage. StatCounter measures based on raw page views, whereas Net Applications uses the number of unique visitors weighted by the number of Internet users in a country.

Regardless, both StatCounter and Net Applications agree on one thing: IE is rapidly losing usage share while Chrome is rapidly gaining.

2011 October worldwide desktop browser usage stats by StatCounter
2011 October worldwide desktop browser usage stats by StatCounter
StatCounter October 2011 browser usage stats
Browser Global usage SA usage
IE 40.18% 56.38%
Firefox 26.39% 20.78%
Chrome 25.00% 16.40%
Safari 5.93% 4.66%
Opera 1.81% 1.17%
Other 0.69% 0.62%

StatCounter also shows that there has been a slight decline in Firefox usage while Apple’s Safari browser has been gradually seeing more page views.

Opera’s line has been mostly flat, sitting around the 1.5% to 3% mark for as long as StatCounter has been collecting data.

2011 October desktop usage stats for South Africa by StatCounter
2011 October desktop usage stats for South Africa by StatCounter

Since Internet Explorer is the dominant browser, and considering the many web design woes older versions of the browser is responsible for, it is interesting to look at which versions of IE get used the most.

Here South Africa’s trend line follows that of the rest of the world: a decline in the use of older versions of Internet Explorer in favour of IE9, though a high percentage of users are still one version behind.

Internet Explorer version Global usage SA usage
IE 8.0 23.83% 34.42%
IE 9.0 9.58% 11.62%
IE 7.0 4.29% 7.14%
IE 6.0 2.47% 3.18%
Internet Explorer usage in South Africa from StatCounter: 2011 October
Internet Explorer usage in South Africa from StatCounter: 2011 October

With the rise in popularity of the smartphone it is also interesting to see the usage share of the various mobile browsers.

Desktop browsing still dominates in page views according to StatCounter, with mobile only accounting for 7% of the overall usage worldwide.

In South Africa, mobile browsing sees slightly more usage, accounting for just over 10% of all pages served.

Globally, Opera is still the most popular browser, but has a very small lead on Android. In fact, the global race between the top 3 mobile browsers is rather close.

Mobile browser usage – October 2011
Mobile browser Global usage Mobile browser SA usage
Opera 21.52% Opera 66.14%
Android 20.88% Nokia 12.52%
iPhone 18.78% iPhone 7.26%
Nokia 12.40% Android 4.90%
BlackBerry 9.26% BlackBerry 3.14%
Other 8.90% Other 2.30%
iPod Touch 4.58% Samsung 1.74%
NetFront 3.10% NetFront 1.23%
Samsung 0.58% Openwave 0.49%
SonyEricsson 0.29%

In South Africa, Opera has a much larger lead on the competition with 66% of the usage, while the next closest is Nokia with 12.52% share.

Opera’s usage locally has stayed between 65% and 70% for the last few months while Nokia’s has dropped slightly, and the number of pages viewed on Android and iPhone have steadily increased.

At MyBroadband we see the same usage trends, but with somewhat different statistics. If I were more biased I might say that our users and readers are ahead of the curve.

When it comes to desktop browsing, MyBroadband users are also using Internet Explorer less and Chrome more. Safari has also seen a steady increase in usage while Firefox and Opera usage has remained flat.

On the mobile side, Opera Mini is still the most popular browser with 1.32% of the overall browser usage share by visit, but in September 2011 it dropped to 1.82%; almost half of what it was in August.

Where things get really interesting however, is when we compare ‘browser usage by visitor to the site’ to ‘usage by page views’.

MyBroadband desktop browser usage stats: October 2011
Browser Visits Pageviews
Firefox 30.46% 36.41%
Chrome 26.10% 28.65%
Internet Explorer 32.31% 26.38%
Safari 6.39% 4.89%
Opera 2.01% 2.12%
Other 2.73% 1.55%
Opera Mini 1.32% 0.66%

When one looks at browser usage by counting visitors to the site, the race between IE, Firefox, and Chrome is tight. However, if you look instead at which browser is requesting the most pages from MyBroadband, Firefox comes out on top with a ten percentage point lead on Internet Explorer.

In fact, when it comes to page views, Chrome has pulled ahead of Internet Explorer on MyBroadband to take the number 2 spot.

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Browser Wars: Usage stats for October 2011