IE Down, Edge Up… Global Browser Usage Stats Are for Cocktail Parties and Conference Slides

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I enjoy articles like Hartley Charlton’s “Microsoft Edge Looks Set to Overtake Safari as World’s Second Most Popular Desktop Browser.” It’s juicy! We know these massive players in the browser market care very much about their market share, so when one passes another it’s news. Like an Olympic speed skater favored for the gold getting a bronze instead, or the like.

Microsoft Edge is now used on 9.54 percent of desktops worldwide, a mere 0.3 percent behind Apple’s Safari, which stands at 9.84 percent. Google Chrome continues to hold first place with an overwhelming 65.38 percent of the market. Mozilla Firefox takes fourth place with 9.18 percent.

In January 2021, Safari held a 10.38 percent market share and appears to be gradually losing users to rival browsers over time. If the trend continues, Apple is likely to slip to third or fourth place in the near future.

Scoping the data down even by continent is entirely different. Like in Europe, Edge has already passed Safari, but in North America, the gap is still 5%.


What does it matter to you or me? Nothing, I hope. These global stats should mean very little to us, outside a little casual nerdy cocktail party chatter. Please don’t make decisions about what to support and not support based on global statistics. Put some kind of basic analytics in place on your site, get data from actual visits, and make choices on that data. That’s the only data that matters.

Alan Dávalos’ “The baseline for web development in 2022” paints a picture of what we should be supporting based again on global browser usage statistics.

Globally, IE’s current market share is under 0.5%. And even in Japan, which has a higher market share of IE compared to other countries, IE’s market share is close to 2% and has a downward tendency.

Until now we kept supporting IE due to its market share. But now, there are basically no good reasons to keep supporting IE.

Again it seems so bizarre to me that any of us would make a choice on what to support based on a global usage statistic. Even when huge players make choices, they do it based on their own data. When Google “dropped” IE 11 (they still serve a perfectly fine baseline experience), they “did the math.” WordPress, famously powering somewhere in the “a third of the whole internet” range, factored in usage of their own product.

Even if you’re building a brand new product and trying to make these choices, you’ll have analytic data soon enough, and can make future-facing support choices based on that as it rolls in.


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