IE Market Share Tumbles As Chrome Reaches 20%
January 3, 2012

IE Market Share Tumbles As Chrome Reaches 20%

Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) resumed its drop in desktop browser market share in December, falling to an all time low and trending to drop below 50% as soon as March, according to metrics firm Net Applications.

IE lost 0.8% in December, falling to 51.9%, a loss of more than seven percentage points during 2011, the Net Applications data revealed.

The move follows a one-month respite in November, the only month in 2011 when it did not lose market share.

Google's Chrome benefited most from IE's decline, increasing its market share by 0.9% to a record high of 19.1%.  Chrome is expected to exceed 20% by February, Net Applications said.

While Microsoft did not address the continued fall of IE´s market share, it pointed to IE9's performance on Windows 7, a combination the software giant says is the only measure that counts.

"Based on where the December data currently stands, we're pleased to say IE9 ... will soon take the top spot from IE8 on Windows 7, with usage share expected to come in at nearly 25.6% this month,” wrote Microsoft´s IE marketing chief Roger Capriotti in a blog posting on December 30.

Neither Microsoft nor Net Applications released definitive December IE9-Windows 7 numbers on Jan. 1.

However, on all operating systems, IE9 had an 11.5% share during December, representing an increase of 1.2 percentage points over November´s figures.

IE8 remained by far Microsoft's most-popular browser, accounting for 27.3% of all browsers used, or more than half of all versions of IE.

Other IE editions also declined in market share last month, with IE7 falling to 4.8% and IE6 dropping to 7.3%.

Microsoft's recent decision to automatically upgrade older versions of IE may further dampen IE6 and IE7 numbers during this year as consumers move to IE8 and IE9.  However, it is not yet clear whether the move will stop IE's total number of defections.

Most of what IE and Mozilla's Firefox lost this year went to Chrome, which grew its market share by 8.8 percentage points in 2011. Firefox, which fell 0.3% during December and 1.9% for the year, ended 2011 at a new low of 21.8%.

If IE and Firefox maintain their current Net Applications' trend lines, Firefox will lose its second-place spot to Chrome in March.

Indeed, data from measurement company StatCounter reveals that Chrome has already surpassed Firefox.

Apple's Safari stayed flat at 5% during December, while Opera Software's Opera gained 0.1%, reaching 1.7% -- its first significant jump in over a year.

Net Applications determines browser usage share with data obtained from more than 160 million unique visitors who browse 40,000 Web sites that the company monitors for clients.

Additional statistics on web browser usage can be found on Net Applications´ website.