Research firm Net Applications collects data on browser use from a small set of web sites, using unique visitors as the main basis for its numbers. Using that data, it has consistently showed that Microsoft's Internet Explorer 10 was ahead of the latest version of Google's Chrome browser, which is updated much more frequently.
Today, Net Applications released its numbers for December 2013 and it indicated a very surprising result. Chrome 31, the newest version of the browser, claimed 15.15 percent of the worldwide browser share and came in second place overall. IE10 came in third at 10.55 percent for the month while IE11, which launched just a few months ago, had a market share of 10.01 percent for December.
The main reason for this change is because more people switched from IE10 to IE11 last month, thanks in part to automatic updates for the browser. However, Chrome 31 still claimed the biggest monthly market share of all of Google's browser versions in 2013. So while it benefited from the switch from IE10 to IE11 in December, Chrome 31 did very well on its own.
IE8 is still the most used browser in the world, and Net Applications showed that it held onto a 19.6 percent market share in December. The Internet Explorer family still has the highest overall share of web browser use, with 55.06 percent in December. Chrome was second overall with 18.97 percent and Mozilla's Firefox was third with 18.46 percent.
Update: It looks like Net Applications has posted some revised numbers for December since this article was first written. While their positions on the charts remain the same, IE8's new numbers show it had 20.64 percent of the browser market in December, with Chrome 31 coming in second at 12.88 percent. IE10 was third with 11.05 percent, IE11 was fourth at 10.42 percent and IE9 was fifth at 8.96 percent.
Source: Net Applications | Image via Net Applications