Back to all posts

Global Web browser stats – a new perspective

Think you know the top web browsers?

Our traditional idea of the top five browsers may be over-simplified, outdated and skewed.

If you attend web developer events in much of Europe and North America, inevitably you will see the same browser logos keep cropping up in the speakers’ slides:

You’ve probably seen lots of slides that look like this.

Chrome, Firefox, Safari, IE/Edge, Opera… It is a common idea that these are the five “major browsers”. Our familiarity with them is comforting, but it might be a skewed and outdated view. Partly from our Western bubble and partly a hangover from the days of desktop dominance.

Let’s take a look at some numbers so we can better represent the reality.

All platforms

First, let’s go as broad as we can: all platforms (desktop, tablet, mobile), worldwide. Here’s the top five, in order, according to StatCounter:

Source: StatCounter, Feb 2017. Percentages rounded to nearest whole number. Updated: replaced Edge logo with Internet Explorer logo, because Edge is now (or sorry, maybe I missed it before!) broken out separately (~2%)

Hey there’s a weird orange logo in the middle! That’s UC Browser — originated in China and owned by Alibaba Group — which has a notable market share, particularly in Asia.

This is an important point. The browser market share can vary a lot depending on location.

For example, in Russia (population: 143 million), StatCounter suggests Chrome is on top as we would expect, but guess which comes second? It’s one we don’t tend to see mentioned much here: Yandex.

Yandex logo

Mobile

We know that mobile is “eating the world”. In fact, StatCounter recently announced that, according to their data, Android has now surpassed Windows as the world’s number one Internet platform. However, out of habit, we still tend to think about desktop by default!

So let’s take a look at mobile browsers. StatCounter suggests a different set again:

Source: StatCounter, Feb 2017. Percentages rounded to nearest whole number. *Note: I’ve used the Opera Mini logo, but these stats do not break out Opera Mini, Opera Mobile and Opera Coast.

Hey now there’s a strange purple logo - our Samsung Internet! StatCounter suggests it’s a top 3 mobile browser in Europe, with over 15% market share in some countries:

Mobile browser market share in Germany. Source: StatCounter, Jan 2017 to Feb 2017

As for Opera on the right — in 2016 Opera shared that Opera Mini was Africa’s favourite browser, with an impressive 58% market share.

Challenging our assumptions

Business coaches often teach us to recognise and challenge our own assumptions. Our assumptions about browser market share should be no different. The data may tell a different story.

I’ve referenced StatCounter above, but I would also suggest seeking multiple sources. Although StatCounter’s data are aggregated from over 3 million websites, it should still only be considered an approximate picture of reality. You may get some anomalies, especially when you narrow down on specific geographies and platforms.

Is the best data your own data?

In general it’s probably best to pay most attention to your own analytics. However, this could be misleading too. Some analytics providers appear to be confused by the user agent strings and do not break out browsers like Samsung Internet (which is based on Chromium) correctly. For example, if you rely only on Google Analytics, you may not be seeing the whole story:

Also, if you simply focus on the browsers of your existing users, you might fail to spot the trends for your potential users. Bruce Lawson covers this brilliantly in “World Wide Web, Not Wealthy Western Web”:

When I speak at conferences in rich Western countries, I often ask people, “Where will your next customers come from?” You don’t know. In our truly worldwide web, you can’t know.
 — Bruce Lawson

Browsers everywhere

So do you really know which are the top browsers, both amongst your existing customers and your potential audience? Perhaps it’s worth taking a closer look; it might just be time to check your site in some of the lesser-known, yet popular browsers like UC, Yandex and Samsung Internet.

And next time you’re making a slide to share about browser support, or see someone else present one, please take a moment to consider: is this based on assumptions, or on data? Why not update it to include the top browsers globally, or — like Ada did recently in Bulgaria — for the location of your audience? You may find Cătălin Mariș’s browser-logos repository helpful!

Many browsers… Mobile browser logos from alraa/browser-logos. NB. The purple one is our new Samsung Internet logo, currently in beta and coming soon to stable!

There may be more browsers out there than we care to think, but as my colleague Diego shared, thankfully they are all based on our open web standards: Many browsers, one Web!

Update 1: Peter Gasston made a great point that a very major “browser” (well, a WebView) I have not mentioned here is Facebook. Another example of the frequent omissions in the “browsers” we think and talk about!

Update 2: A couple of people pointed out that IE must surely have a higher market share than 4%? I agree that it seems unlikely/on the low side! Comparing desktop share, NetMarketShare indicates ~19% for IE, versus StatCounter’s 9%. I’ll leave you to compare/judge!

This article was originally posted at:
https://medium.com/samsung-internet-dev/think-you-know-the-top-web-browsers-458a0a070175

Can we take you from stuck to unstuck?

We'd love to hear from you

Call to action (CTA)

A call to action is a marketing term that refers to a prompt that invokes a response leading to a sale. When referring to a call to action (CTA) in the digital design world we usually mean the interactive element that leads to the next step in the experience - something that needs to be clicked or tapped.

User testing

User testing refers to a technique used in the design process to evaluate a product, feature or prototype with real users. There are several reasons why you might want to undergo usability testing, the most common is that it allows the design team to identify friction in a user experience they are designing, so that it can be addressed before being built or deployed.

WYSIWYG

WYSIWYG (pronounced WIZ-ee-wig) is an acronym for "What You See Is What You Get". It helps identify an an interface that allows user input resulting in an output that is rendered in a similar way. For example; a word processor application interface might resemble a piece of paper,so when printed the user can see how the output will appear.

Content Management System

A content management system (CMS) is an tool that allows a website editor/administrator to manage the content that is displayed. Websites are made of HTML and CSS to create pages. Pages can be hard-coded but would require technical development skills to make changes. A CMS usually allows a person without coding knowledge to amend existing and add new content to a website using a WYSIWYG interface.

Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design refers to a web page that dynamically adapts its layout to fit the size and orientation of the device on which it is viewed. A responsive design allows for a more optimised user experience across desktop and laptop computers as well as smartphones and tablets of varying sizes.

User Stories

User stories allow the functionality of a product or service to be expressed as written descriptions of an experience as seen from the users perspective. The writing of user stories creates a list of design and development tasks to complete in order to create any required functionality.

User Interface

A user interface (UI) is a conduit between human and computer interaction - the space where a user will interact with a computer or machine to complete tasks. The purpose of a UI is to enable a user to effectively control a computer or machine they are interacting with, and for feedback to be received in order to communicate effective completion of tasks.

Personas

A persona in UX Design is the characterisation of a user who represents a segment of your target audience. On a project you might create any number of personas to be representative of a range of user needs and desires. The solutions you design must answer these needs in order to deliver value to your target audience.

Card sorting

A great, reliable, inexpensive method for discovering patterns in how users would expect to find content or functionality. Card sorting is used to test the taxonomy of data with a group of subjects, usually to help inform the creation of the information architecture, user flow, or menu structure on a project.

Brainstorming

A technique used to generate ideas around a specific topic. Often done in groups, but can be done individuals. The process usually involves writing down all ideas around a topic onto paper, a whiteboard or stickies often implying some kind of association.

Minimum Viable Product

An MVP is a product that has the minimum set of features to prove the most essential hypothesis for a product. Businesses building a new product can create a Minimum Viable Product to prove that an idea is viable and warrants further investment. A further benefit being that the next stage of development can be informed by feedback obtained from testing that MVP.

Sitemap

A sitemap is a diagrammatic representation of a hierarchical system. It usually depicts the parent-sibling relationship between pages in a website, showing how sub pages might be arranged underneath their parent groupings. This arrangement forms a map of the site.

User journey

A user journey represents a sequence of events or experiences a user might encounter while using a product or service. A user journey can be mapped or designed to show the steps and choices presented as interactions, and the resulting actions.

Prototype

A prototype is draft representation built to test ideas for layout, behaviour and flow in a system. Prototypes are an indispensable tool for resolving a large number of potential issues in a concept or business before too many resources are deployed to put a design into production.

Wireframes

A Wireframe is a visual schematic that conveys a basic level of communication, structure and behaviour during the design of a system. Wireframes are low-fidelity designs that bypass including a detailed user interface or visual design, conveying just enough to get across the core idea.

Usability

To say something is usable is a qualitative statement about how easy that thing is to use. Usability is an assessment of how learnable a system is and how easy a user finds it to use. The usability of a system or product is a key factor in determining whether the user experience is a good one.

Information Architecture

Information architecture is the design and organisation of content, pages and data into a structure that aids users understanding of a system. A more organised system enables users to more easily find the information they require and complete the intended tasks.

UI Design

User Interface Design is the discipline of designing software interfaces for devices, ideally with a focus on maximising efficiency, responsiveness and aesthetics to foster a good user experience.

UX Design

The practice of User Experience (UX) Design is the coming together of many specific design related disciplines to improve the usability, responsiveness, uptake and aesthetics of a product or service.

User Experience

A general term that covers all aspects of a user's participation while engaging with something that has been designed. Usually when talking about User Experience in the digital design field it refers to the interactions, reactions, emotions and perceptions while using an app, service, website or product.

Got a problem to solve with your service? 

We'd love to hear about it. We can add value to any business that has a digital product/offering.

Book a FREE 30 min consultation

You can also call +44(0)20 3653 1310 or email us

Book a FREE 30min consultation