Chrome is taking users from Firefox, not IE

According to statistics from ReadWriteWeb, early adopters and tech-savvy folk seem to be moving away from Mozilla's Firefox browser in favor of Google Chrome. Their numbers are based trends from their own site's visitors, as well as outside sources. With changes in the browser wars, such as Microsoft's EU browser ballot, many would think that Chrome's increased numbers are being had at the expense of Microsoft's Internet Explorer. However, this doesn't seem to be the case, as browser market share only represents the overall picture of mainstream users--not the underlying mechanics of it.

In general, public reports have shown Chrome's significant growth since its release. While its market share numbers are nowhere near those of Firefox or Internet Explorer yet, rapid growth is still evident. According to NetMarketShare, in one year, Chrome has gone from 2.4% of the overall browser market, to 6.73% (close to a 300% increase). Firefox, on the other hand, has only gone from 22.43 to 24.59% in the same period, while Internet Explorer has dropped, significantly, from 68.32 to 59.95%.

Though Firefox, from a mainstream perspective, is still holding steady as it prepares the next significant version of its web browser (4.0), its usage among users who understand browsers and what each has to offer, seems to be falling fast. On the other hand, among the same users, Internet Explorer is still holding steady. This means that Chrome, which has shown a significant bump in traffic on most tech web sites, is picking up most, if not all of its users, from Firefox--not Internet Explorer. ReadWriteWeb's statistics show the following:

ReadWriteWeb - Browser Usage

This data leads ReadWriteWeb to believe that Chrome's battle is with Firefox, and no other. Internet Explorer's market share has been in decline for quite some time now, though among the tech-savvy, its numbers are unchanged. This can probably be attributed to Microsoft's lack of innovation (though with IE9, things look promising) and the amazing growth that Firefox has seen over the past number of years. With Chrome, on the other hand, Google has hit Mozilla in the gut. Before its release, nothing had come close to the adoption that Firefox was seeing. Chrome, and its new found love for developers and their extensions, is allowing Google to aim straight for the very blood that keeps the Firefox community so alive and well. With yesterday's news of a stable version of Chrome for Mac and Linux, the little browser that could will continue seeing even more growth at the hands of other browser--especially Firefox.

The real question isn't if the above information is true, but rather what it means for the browser market as a whole. Should this trend continue, it will interesting to see if its effect bleeds into mainstream statistics. Will Firefox 4 have the same incredible level of impact that Firefox 3 did? Will Chrome begin making its way into the computers of the Average Joe? How will IE 9 affect the whole situation? Essentially, what will browser market shares look like in the near and distant future? These are all questions to be answered as the next few years unfold. When you look at it this way, the browser wars are far from over--they're just getting started.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Half-Life 2 available for Mac today

Next Story

Comcast to offer 105Mbps to residential customers

61 Comments

View more comments

Sadly, it's true. I myself am one of those who switched. Not totally yet because of some extensions like Modify Headers or FireFTP, but other than those, I now use it all the time.

I'm still interested in what Firefox 4 has to offer.

Udedenkz said,
Weird, I though that it would appeal to IE users.
1. Simple, Easy To Use, Will Speed Up Your Download Speeds (if you seen the adverts...), and so on.
2. It doesn't get bogged down by malicious addons as much (ignoring the whole "Chrome = Spyware" thing)

I guess many FF users,
1. Do not care about customization
2. Need to upgrade their pre-2k rigs (better performance argument)
3. Have never tried FF3.7

Firefox nightlies already beat Chrome in simple such as scrolling, HTML5 performance, and so on.


Hmmm, I fit in neither of those options. :-|

You cannot consider statistics when people actively put themselves into the results. A poll is not accurate if you ask people to visit your site and then get responses from them because only people that have an interest will respond.

Similarly, giving the results from a tech savvy website would immediately suggest that the visitors are relatively tech savvy. While it's true that user's are not knowingly participating in this "survey," they are actively visiting the site with a pre-known bias.

This is no different than going to a service like MobileMe (Apple service for Mac users) and being shocked that both Firefox and Google Chrome are stealing Safari users.

I'm not surprised, I was a FF user and I just find the UI drab and boring...

Putting aside the fact that I don't really like Google because of its privacy issues, Chrome is just clean and sleak.

dave164 said,
I'm not surprised, I was a FF user and I just find the UI drab and boring...

Putting aside the fact that I don't really like Google because of its privacy issues, Chrome is just clean and sleak.

I agree, and most of the themes are utterly terrible, or slight variations of one another. Don't even get me started on those horrible personas things.

dave164 said,
I'm not surprised, I was a FF user and I just find the UI drab and boring...

Putting aside the fact that I don't really like Google because of its privacy issues, Chrome is just clean and sleak.

If you would have invested around 10 minutes in themes and addon's, then you would have changed your mind.

Yeah, I have switched from Firefox to Chrome some time ago. Firefox isn't just what it was before. Maybe Firefox 4, who knows...

So just out of curiosity, why does the graph at the link look like firefox is still on the up and up, and internet exploder is the one dropping?

IMHO, FF's downfall has been it's total lack of regard for the corporate environment. IE reigns there because M$ provides tools to easily manage it. Until Mozilla addresses their lack of corporate support, it will always be 2nd place or worse.

It will never have corporate deployment tools. This is not how the product was built. I can, however, see Google implement a corporate infrastructure that allows for centralized deployment, policy implementation and unified upgrading.

I am beginning to use Chrome more and more with each passing day. The performance with FF is not the best, the lack of plug-in isolation is worrisome and their performance is beginning to suffer slightly. Further, the interface needs to be cleaned-up. The good news is that all of these issues are being addressed.

I tried Chrome and I hate it. I even tried installing extentions to make it feel more like FF but I still hated it.

I have been a loyal FF user since v2 and tried Chrome when it first came out and laughed at it. I recently installed lastest v5 Chrome with extensions and it immediately became by primary browser. It has nearly all the extensions I had in FF and loads incredibly fast and has a streamlined interface. Love that search feature with hits on the scroll bar. If you haven't tried Chrome recently I'd suggest you give it a try it definitely won me over.

this data are useless when explained wrong ...

each year the number of internet (thus browsers) rapidly grows (especially 'developing' countries) thus lot of the grow is not stealing existing users but these new
especially the simplicity and slick feel of Chrome and Opera is what's winner
default existance of IE8 will ensure it's stable use
also completely missing from picture are 'local area' browsers like Maxthon in China etc.

Its hardly surprising that Chrome is eating into Firefox's share, several times I've installed applications and suddenly Chrome appears on my desktop (or even worse the browser actually launches after I close the app).

Its funny how we criticise Micrisift for such things but never Google.

Chrome is a good browser but I like the feel of Firefox, to me Chrome still has this rough around the edges feel but Firefox feels more polished, despite being slower (and not much slower).

I still prefer Firefox.

Stumble upon toolbar in chrome is terrible, and its themes are damn ugly. These two are reasons for me to switch back to firefox.

The thing for me has been the same, before I will fully move to Chrome as my primary browser, it has to have some of the addons that I use daily in Firefox. And not just a real Adblock Plus, but a download manager like DownThemAll, IE tab extension, maybe some theme support for customizing it. Otherwise, there is no reason for me to switch to Chrome.

Completely agree. At work I use Chrome because I don't need the extensions, but I'm still using Firefox at home, only because of extensions like StumbleUpon and DownThemAll. Chrome is installed and ready to use when these kind of extensions get made available.

Commenting is disabled on this article.