Browser stats for Q1 and Q2

It’s time for some browser stats, as always courtesy of StatCounter.

I didn’t report the Q1 stats before because I was too busy with the book. So here are the Qa and Q2 stats in one easy-to-digest package.

Headline: Chrome. Q1 and Q2 were Chrome’s quarters. The browser grew on desktop, mobile, and tablet, though the desktop growth was minimal.

Mobile

On mobile Chrome’s share tripled from January to June — from 6 to 18% of the total mobile browser market. I’m not sure what fueled this huge growth. (And don’t tell me it’s consumers downloading it of their own free will — I don’t believe that.)

First of all the usual caveat (though nobody ever listens to me): I suspect that the majority of these Chrome hits are not Google Chrome but Samsung Chrome — the default browser of the Galaxy S4 and newer high-end models that currently stands at version 28, instead of Google Chrome’s 37.

So one explanation of Chrome’s jump is Samsung selling a lot of high-end devices with Samsung Chrome 28 as their default browser to people who actually surf. Absent actual data this is the explanation I’m going to believe.

Chrome is still smaller than Android WebKit, but for the first time I’m starting to see a trend that Chrome will catch up pretty soon. By the end of the year? Possibly. Still, that won’t mean that Android WebKit will disappear, so you should continue to acquire those Android test devices and test in all Android WebKits you can lay your hands on.

Also interesting is where Chrome’s growth comes from. Whatever else is happening, Chrome is not replacing Android WebKit. Instead, what these numbers seem to suggest is people switching over from older phones, that run proxy browsers such as Opera Mini, Nokia Xpress, or UC Mini, to newer, higher-end Samsung devices. Android is eating the non-smartphone world, in other words. Horace Dediu has been saying this forever, and now we found some browser data that could correlate with his theory.

Global mobile browser stats, quarterly
Browser Q2 2014 ch Q1 2014 ch Q4 2013 ch Q3 2013 ch Q2 2013
Android 25% -1 26% 0 26% -2 28% -2 30%
Safari 23% +1 22% +1 21% -2 23% -3 26%
Chrome 18% +7 11% +5 6% +2 4% +1 3%
Opera 12% -1 13% -6 19% +3 16% 0 16%
UC 10% -1 11% 0 11% 0 11% +2 9%
Nokia 4% -2 6% -1 7% 0 7% 0 7%
BlackBerry 2% 0 2% -1 3% 0 3% 0 3%
NetFront 2% 0 2% 0 2% 0 2% 0 2%
IE 2% 0 2% 0 2% +1 1% 0 1%
Other 2% -3 5% +2 3% -2 5% +2 3%
Volatility 8% 8% 6% 5%
Mobile 25% +2 23% +3 20% +3 17% +2 15%

Desktop

On desktop Chrome’s growth is much less pronounced, but it’s there, and IE bears the cost. If this trend continues Chrome will be the majority desktop browser by the end of the year.

Also, by the end of the year less than two-thirds of global hits on websites will come from desktop browsers. Most of the rest will be mobile browsers. Still need arguments to convince your boss mobile is important? Just show him (or her, I suppose) the numbers.

Global desktop browser stats, quarterly
Browser Q2 2014 ch Q1 2014 ch Q4 2013 ch Q3 2013 ch Q2 2013
Chrome 48% +1 47% +3 44% 0 44% +1 43%
IE 23% -2 25% -3 28% 0 28% -1 29%
Firefox 20% 0 20% 0 20% 0 20% -1 21%
Safari 5% 0 5% 0 5% 0 5% 0 5%
Opera 1% 0 1% 0 1% 0 1% 0 1%
Others 3% +1 2% 0 2% 0 2% +1 1%
Volatility 2% 3% 0 2%
Desktop 69% -2 71% -4 75% -3 78% -3 81%

Tablet

And even on tablets Chrome is growing. I’m not sure if Samsung Chrome is deployed on tablets as well (I don’t keep close track of the Android tablet market). Here, too, I see Chrome overtaking Android WebKit before the end of the year.

Still, Safari has two-thirds of the tablet browsing market, so any other browser is a footnote.

Global tablet browser stats, quarterly
Browser Q2 2014 ch Q1 2014 ch Q4 2013 ch Q3 2013 ch Q2 2013
Safari 67% -1 68% -1 69% -1 70% -2 72%
Android 15% -1 16% 0 16% 0 16% +1 15%
Chrome 12% +3 9% +2 7% 0 7% 0 7%
Silk 3% 0 3% 0 3% 0 3% 0 3%
Opera 1% 0 1% 0 1% 0 1% 0 1%
Firefox 1% 0 1% 0 1% 0 1% 0 1%
Others 1% -1 2% -1 3% +1 2% +1 1%
Volatility 3% 2% 1% 2%
Tablet 6% 0 6% +1 5% 0 5% +1 4%

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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