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.

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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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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?

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

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.

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.

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.

Shadrack said,
I switched from FF to Chrome for Windows. Actually Safari for Windows is pretty damn fast too, but a resource hog.

Safari for Windows is just what iTunes is: A very bad ported piece of Apple Software running on a Microsoft OS!

Just switched to Chrome today. It seems a lot faster, although I'm confused why there is five instances of the program running in the background.

I miss the search box though. I have the add-on, but I really like it permanently there.

Brandon said,
Just switched to Chrome today. It seems a lot faster, although I'm confused why there is five instances of the program running in the background.

I miss the search box though. I have the add-on, but I really like it permanently there.


The address bar is the search box

Destructoid said,

The address bar is the search box

For like eBay and Amazon. I have the plug in, but I wish it would be always there instead of having to click on it.

Brandon said,
I'm confused why there is five instances of the program running in the background.

This is a feature - tabs and plugins run in separate processes to improve stability and performance. In chrome, right click on the titlebar and go to the task manager and press stats for nerds. This will give an accurate representation of the memory used by chrome.

Brandon said,

For like eBay and Amazon. I have the plug in, but I wish it would be always there instead of having to click on it.


look for extensions in chrome for those features.

having multiple chrome open is a feature to improve stability and safer(sandboxing) browsing.

obv.. if you never changed from IE in the first place why would you change now.. people who converted to firefox were already accepting of taking on change and trying other(better) browsers out.. stupid study..

madLyfe said,
obv.. if you never changed from IE in the first place why would you change now.. people who converted to firefox were already accepting of taking on change and trying other(better) browsers out.. stupid study..

i agree. people who use ie either like or are resistant to change.
me personally i don't like chrome. i don't like the UI and FF is fast enough for me, since it loads pages pretty much instantly most of the time.
FF has almost everything i want in a browser right out of the box, where as when i tried chrome it looked ugly, and unintuitive. i mean where is my bookmarks toolbar or search box? i don't think chrome has a cleaner UI but more of a minimalist ui.
and FF looks fine in win 7 imho. doesn't look out of place with any of my other open windows at all.
when chrome has the UI and features i want from a browser right out of the box i'll consider trying it again, but until then i'll stick with FF even if i think mozilla has gotten lazy.

madLyfe said,
obv.. if you never changed from IE in the first place why would you change now.. people who converted to firefox were already accepting of taking on change and trying other(better) browsers out.. stupid study..

Just being obvious to you doesn't make the "study" stupid. It's just a release of numbers, and without numbers even the obvious is only an assumption

madLyfe said,
obv.. if you never changed from IE in the first place why would you change now.. people who converted to firefox were already accepting of taking on change and trying other(better) browsers out.. stupid study..

I've changed, lots of times. I went from IE to Opera, tried some FF, back to Opera and now i'm using IE8. I think that's quite a bit of change right there.

treemonster said,

i agree. people who use ie either like or are resistant to change.

when chrome has the UI and features i want from a browser right out of the box i'll consider trying it again, but until then i'll stick with FF even if i think mozilla has gotten lazy.


you are showing resistant to change from FF.
not moving from IE doesn't mean they are always resistant to change
I am a chrome user who like the simplicity and the speed.

I am in that boat, I dropped FireFox for Chrome as my second browser. My school website works best in Internet Explorer, but one site I use for work actually works best in Chrome than anything else.

Mozilla is incredibly slow to get anything out the door. They have been falling behind some time now. Though, the only reason I still use it is because they offer better APIs for addons...

That's true.
I am still using FF because of Greasemonkey, except that I find nothing much useful right now.
I like Chrome for its speed and clean look, just waiting for proper Greasemonkey script port for Chrome.
It's strange that no other browser could beat the Chrome scripting speed.
FF4 seems impressive though, waiting for it too.

jamesyfx said,
I know a web designer (!) that has always stood by IE and continues to see all other browsers as inferior.

.... o_o

The developers tools of iexplorer is nice but it can compare with Firebug and, for a webdesigner, firebug is a must.

Magallanes said,

The developers tools of iexplorer is nice but it can compare with Firebug and, for a webdesigner, firebug is a must.

Chrome/Safari's Inspect tools are almost as powerful, aside from just testing sites in FF, I rarely need to use it/firebug for finding errors more than once a month these days..

jamesyfx said,
I know a web designer (!) that has always stood by IE and continues to see all other browsers as inferior.

.... o_o

I guess your emoticon at the end indicates that you're speechless because you have no argument.

I use IE and Chrome (but only for Google properties or sites that are poorly implemented). As a Dev, the nice thing about IE is that you discover the sorts of problems your IE users will encounter early and can work to address them. I've seen too many projects delayed when "professionals" forgot to test some major site feature in IE and had to go back to the drawing board.

jamesyfx said,
I know a web designer (!) that has always stood by IE and continues to see all other browsers as inferior.

.... o_o

im not a dev but IE is the only browser i use. I even use IE in linux.

tunafish said,
However would be interesting to see how IE9 comes into the mix

IE will always do well as it is the base browser that comes with Windows.. alot of companies rarely switch over to another browser... since it is convenient for them.....

Alot of the mom and pop folk don't bother to change.. So unless IE changes its UI and uses chrome as the benchmark of browsers to really do well - it won't have a significant impact since it already has a base..

FF will be interesting since now it will try to recapture its lost audience from chrome.. - I see an interesting battle up ahead..