* Stats from StatCounter
* Some numbers are rounded for purposes of clarity
Looking at Web browser usage statistics over a year gives very interesting insight on what the landscape of the Web may be in a few more years.
For example, the following statistics can be observed:
Over a period of one year, Internet Explorer has been losing an average of 0.755% market share per month, to end at 45.44% market share in February 2011. If the trend continues, by 2014, Internet Explorer market share should have dropped to only 18%.
Over a period of one year, Mozilla Firefox has been losing a measly average of 0.12% per month, which could translate into a stagnant market share. Nevertheless, if that up and down trend would be to continue, by 2014, Firefox would have dropped 4% to 26% market share.
Over a period of one year, Opera has gained an average of 0.00275% per month, which is next to nothing, so you could say Opera is always staying at the 2% mark. By 2014, Opera would have a market share of 2.099%, or no significant gain at all.
Over a period of one year, Safari, on the other hand, has gained about 0.08% per month, which is a little less than 1% per year, akin to gains in market share by Mac OS X. By 2014, Safari should have gained a little under 3%, for a closing 8% market share, contributing to the growth of WebKit, by then the most popular browser engine.
Speaking of WebKit, Google Chrome, kept for last, over the period of one year, has gained a staggering average of 0.82% per month, with the growth rate getting faster as the months advances, whereas other browsers have fairly linear growth. On a monthly basis, it might not seem like anything significant, but on 3 years, it’s almost 30%. That’s a bigger gain than Internet Explorer’s drop, which would effectively give Chrome a market share of 46%! Considering Chrome’s current market share, this would be like a total role reversal with Internet Explorer, except that in this case, considering Google’s efforts, Chrome market share may keep growing.
By these metrics, in 2020, the practical totality of Web users would be using Google Chrome. Also, at its current upgrade rate of roughly 7 new versions per 2 years, Chrome should be up to version 40 by 2020. Webkit would now account for more than half of desktop browsers.
Now, as we all know, the real world doesn’t work like this. If it did, Firefox would have 40% market share right now, not 30%, and Chrome would be at about 9%, not 16%.
Nevertheless, here are the statistics for a very linear and approximative prevision of what February 2014 will look like:
Internet Explorer: 18%
Surprisingly enough, this actually does make a lot of sense. No statistic here is truly shocking. It’s quick rise for Chrome of course, and a quick fall for Internet Explorer, but that’s simply a given.
Interesting tidbit, however, Chrome’s market share gains are at the expense of Internet Explorer, today and in the foreseeable future, pointing out that Firefox users are not displeased with Firefox, it’s just that people who switch have a tendency to prefer Chrome to Firefox. Will Internet Explorer 9 damper Chrome’s growth? Most likely, but Google’s got YouTube and Android in its bag, so the war extends well beyond the common desktop browser and into OS and video codecs.
Ah, the Web, what an interesting place.