Browser stats for Q4 2012 and all of 2012

It’s time for some mobile browser stats, as always according to StatCounter. Here are the figures for Q4 last year, as well as for 2012 as a whole. Summary: an excellent year for Google’s browsers.

If you’re so inclined you can see ominous portents of the approaching WebKit apocalypse in these numbers. Non-WebKit browsers are losing market share everywhere.

Quarters

Let’s start with the Q4 figures.

Mobile

On the mobile side we see Android regaining its upward swing after a few quarters of stagnation. In Q3 it won two points, and in Q4 three. Android is now clearly the largest browser, ahead of Safari.

Opera, meanwhile, has gone into slight but unmistakable decline. So far its decline could be attributed to natural variations, but now that it’s clear that Opera has lost market share every single quarter of 2012, I have to revise my opinion.

Gains for UC, which is strengthening its position, and also for Firefox, which appeared on my radar last quarter.

I wonder who’ll reach 2% first: IE, Chrome, or Firefox.

Global mobile browser stats, quarterly
Browser Q4 2012 ch Q3 2012 ch Q2 2012 ch Q1 2012
Android 27% +3 24% +2 22% 0 22%
Safari 23% -1 24% 0 24% 0 24%
Opera 18% -1 19% -3 22% -1 23%
Nokia 10% 0 10% -1 11% -1 12%
UC 9% +1 8% 0 8% +2 6%
NetFront 4% 0 4% 0 4% +1 3%
BlackBerry 4% 0 4% -1 5% -1 6%
Dolfin 1% 0 1% 0 1% 0 1%
IE 1% 0 1% 0 1% +1 0
Chrome 1% 0 1% +1 0 0 0
Samsung 1% 0 1% 0 1% 0 1%
Firefox 1% +1 0 0 0 0 0
Other 0 -3 3% +2 1% -1 2%
Volatility 5% 5% 4%
Mobile 13% +1 12% +2 10% +1 9%

Desktop

On the desktop side Chrome continues its onward march, and leaves IE and Firefox behind. Q3 was the first quarter where Chrome was the largest desktop browser; the Q4 numbers reinforce this: it steals yet another two points from IE, making the gap between them a full 5%.

Global desktop browser stats, quarterly
Browser Q4 2012 ch Q3 2012 ch Q2 2012 ch Q1 2012
Chrome 36% +2 34% +2 32% +2 30%
IE 31% -2 33% 0 33% -3 36%
Firefox 22% -1 23% -2 25% 0 25%
Safari 8% +1 7% 0 7% 0 7%
Opera 1% -1 2% 0 2% 0 2%
Others 2% +1 1% 0 1% +1 0
Volatility 4% 2% 3%

Full years

Now the yearly figures for 2009-2012.

Mobile

When seen year-over-year Android’s growth is even more impressive: 33% in one year. The cost is borne mostly by Opera and the other browsers.

Nokia loses and UC gains, but this is partly caused by a StatCounter detection error that was corrected in Q4 2011. Nokia immediately lost about 5% to UC.

IE appears on the yearly radar, which will cause happy faces in Redmond, although its market share could use a bit of a boost. Chrome and Firefox are still too new to make 1% browsing share over a full year.

The real story is in the last row, though. Mobile browsing now accounts for 11% of all browsing — and remember StatCounter counts tablets with the desktop, so this 11% is only phones. Impressive, huh? And I don’t think it’s going to stop any time soon.

Global mobile browser stats, yearly
Browser 2012 ch 2011 ch 2010 ch 2009
Android 24% +6 18% +9 9% +6 3%
Safari 24% +1 23% -2 25% -9 34%
Opera 20% -2 22% -2 24% -1 25%
Nokia 11% -4 15% -1 16% -3 19%
UC 8% +6 2% +1 1% +1 0
BlackBerry 5% -6 11% -5 16% +8 8%
NetFront 4% +1 3% -1 4% -1 5%
Dolfin 1% 0 1% +1 - - -
IE 1% +1 0 0 0 -1 1%
Samsung 1% 0 1% 0 1% +1 0
Other 1% -3 4% 0 4% -1 5%
Volatility 15% 11% 16%
Mobile 11% +5 6% +3 3% +2 1%

Desktop

On the desktop, Chrome’s year-over-year growth is also very impressive, and IE’s decline even more so. Over 2012 as a whole IE was still marginally larger, but that means little any more. Firefox starts to trend down, too.

Global desktop browser stats, yearly
Browser 2012 ch 2011 ch 2010 ch 2009
IE 33% -10 43% -8 51% -9 60%
Chrome 33% +12 21% +11 10% +7 3%
Firefox 24% -4 28% -3 31% +1 30%
Safari 7% +2 5% +1 4% +1 3%
Opera 2% 0 2% 0 2% -1 3%
Others 1% 0 1% -1 2% +1 1%
Volatility 14% 12% 10%

This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer. You can also follow him on Twitter.
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