Firefox Worldwide Market Share – was there a change?

The short answer: no, there likely was not a change.

One of the top sources for browser market share analysis recently released some interesting data showing a decline in worldwide market share for Firefox during the March to April time period.

Our internal numbers show healthy growth for Firefox usage during that time, and we found it a bit odd that both Opera and Safari also showed losses, while IE took a big step forward.  Thankfully, we were able to dig into the numbers via Net Applications’ service; and even more helpful than that, the good folks over at Net Applications sprung into action to see if they could dive even deeper into the data.

What did we find?

  1. Usage of Firefox did not appear to decline in April.
  2. Usage of IE saw an ultra unusual spike over the period of a few days in April.  While there was steady traffic from IE users – as measured by page views – for a short period surrounding April 18th, there was a huge spike in traffic from IE users – as measure by unique visitors – during the same time period.  When I say “huge spike”, I mean something on order of 25% to 50% greater than what could have been expected.
  3. Most of IE’s spike was attributable to IE6 users on XP (with some assistance from IE7 users on Vista), and nearly the entire spike came from users outside North America.

We’re not entirely sure what explains the IE related events described above, so we’re continuing to work with Net Applications in researching the situation.  For example, one educated hypothesis is that it has something to do with Microsoft’s update mechanism (they released SP1 for Vista users around April 18th).

There are likely to be more articles about the data (such as this), so our goal here is just to be as open and transparent as possible.  We’ll keep you updated as we uncover more details.

1 response

  1. Steve wrote on :

    1.) IE8 Beta 1 was released, which means developers started hitting every site they owned, and could find to test out this new browser, to find bugs etc.
    This also means they were not using their normal, favorite browser (Firefox/Safari/Opera)