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Firefox 3 Chipping Away Safari Market Share, Summer Browsing Patterns Reverse IE Decline

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 13 comments

Chicago (IL) - Two days ago, we posted an article on the trend that Firefox, on a daily basis, has been exceeding a market share of 20% more often than ever before in July. Net Applications today published the July result earlier today, which does not show quite so dramatic numbers. Apparently, IE7 reversed its decline into a marginal sequential growth most likely due to a change in audience mix during the summer months, while Firefox grows further on the heels of the recent Firefox 3 release, chipping away market share from Safari.

The biggest surprise in Net Applications’ July browser survey is Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE), which saw a marginal growth over previous months. The bounce-back also slowed, which saw its share drop slightly.

In July, IE recorded a 73.02% share, up marginally from 73.01% the month before. It appears that many IE users made the switch from IE6 to IE7 during the month as IE6 lost 0.64 points over the previous month, but IE7 gained 0.65 points in the same period. Another contributing factor that worked for IE market share are most likely changes in summer browsing patterns and a slightly different audience in NetApplications’ survey pool, which consists of about 160 million users.

Firefox’ share of the market throughout July was 19.03%, down 0.19% from 19.22% in June. If we compare changes in FF2 and FF3 market shares during the June-July period, we notice that FF3 gained 3.36%, while Firefox 2 lost 3.11%. The combined FF2 drop and FF3 growth suggest that more FF2 users who downloaded FF3 actually choose the software as their default browser, ditching FF2. The obvious conclusion is that Firefox was successful at chipping away share from other browsers, most notably Apple’s Safari (which showed a 0.17 point decline in July), Opera (0.04 point decline), and other web browsers, possible earlier Firefox versions (0.16 point decline).

As we previously reported, Firefox recently was climbing above 20% market share more often on particular days. Since Firefox 3 is little over six weeks on the market, it is to be expected that many users install the software to testdrive new features. However, while it is apparent that Firefox has been gaining share and the trend curve is heading up, the early state of the browser may skew the result in favor of Mozilla and it is too early to even guess what percentage of those who downloaded Firefox 3 will actually continue to use the browser on a daily basis.

When Microsoft releases IE8 later this year, the same effect could work towards an increase of IE market share. In any case, Firefox has come a long way to close in on 20% market share market, which would be a huge milestone for Mozilla.

Apple’s Safari browser took the third spot in July with 6.14% market share, down 0.17 points from 6.31% market share in June. The 0.17 loss is mainly the result of a 0.21 point decline of Safari 3, while Safari 3.1 gained 0.11 points. The overall decline comes after months of growth, which suggests that Safari was especially vulnerable during the Firefox 3 launch period.

The release of the iPhone 3G on July 11 has brought large gains in web browsing share for the device. Prior to launch, iPhone usage share had leveled off, but has since resumed its upward trend now. For instance, on June 1 0.19% of users were browsing the web using an iPhone. Following June 11, when the iPhone 3G was introduced, that share increased to 0.22% (recorded yesterday).

Both Netscape and Opera are currently listed at 0.69% share.

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  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , August 2, 2008 6:25 AM
    too bad not much ppl know about OPERA... its so far ahead of ff3...
    fact is ff is always lagging behind opera but i must admit that mozilla's marketing plan is awesome.
  • 0 Hide
    lobhob , August 2, 2008 2:55 PM
    What are you talking about, OPERA is a piece of junk compared to firefox.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , August 2, 2008 3:17 PM
    opera is such a piece of junk that firefox is just copying them.....
  • 0 Hide
    z0phi3l , August 2, 2008 5:11 PM
    FF is taking the VERY few good things from Opera and doing a better job at it in the process

    I've tried Opera many times, it's n o where close to FF3, it is tons better than IE but that's like comparing manure to perfume :) 
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 2, 2008 6:13 PM
    FF is the best out there. Opera is alright, but FF still wtfpwns it. IE is slow and not as secure as FF or Opera, but it still gets the job done. Safari is probably the 'leech' of the bunch with Apple trying to leech every idea they discover.
  • 0 Hide
    randomizer , August 3, 2008 3:42 AM
    IE7 renders some pages faster than FF3 when those pages have large, fixed backgrounds. Hopefully Mozilla fix that up. I still much prefer FF though. Never really used Opera. Safari... well I've never really been able to keep it running stable. :sarcastic: 
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 3, 2008 4:17 AM
    FF kills IE in just about every way (@ the guy who said some pages display properly in IE and not FF, that would be because the pages have non-valid html made to work in IE... its a web dev's nightmare)

    and Safari is not built on Conquerer, its build on WebKit (google it)

    I use Safari, as I am on OS X, and Safari 3.1 is by far the fastest browser on here (FF3 made some pretty good performance jumps over FF2, but it still isn't in the range of Safari)
  • 0 Hide
    randomizer , August 3, 2008 4:19 AM
    I'm not sure what version of Safari I used last, but it was higly unstable and much slower than FF2. This was on OSX 10.4 so probably an old version of Safari.
  • 0 Hide
    kalpesh , August 3, 2008 5:35 AM
    Opera 9.5 is the best browser I ever use
    I was using Firefox for more then 3 years
    but this browser is just great
    ok u don't believe me
    go and download opera
    and try out some feature
    1. Opera zooming feature
    2. Opera Scroll Pages smother then any other browser huge difference
    3. Hide all images form page in one click also
    4. Boolean image of tabs (like vista tabs)
    and more


  • 0 Hide
    randomizer , August 3, 2008 5:48 AM
    kalpesh2. Opera Scroll Pages smother then any other browser huge difference

    That would be nice, but I wouldn't use any of those other features.
  • 0 Hide
    chechnyan , August 3, 2008 5:48 AM
    i am in love with firefox since 5 years
    but i hate it when it cant render ASPx page like other
  • 0 Hide
    mariusmotea , August 3, 2008 5:56 PM
    I try firefox too, but opera is wonderful, tone of features and settings, performance is enough .The market share is not reflecting the reality, IE is poor but win because is preinstaled in windows, Firefox is very pretty, and the marketing strategy is good, Opera is wonderful but no marketing.
  • 0 Hide
    randomizer , August 3, 2008 11:03 PM
    smlong, I think many people just like the idea of choice, and since you are basically forced to run IE on Windows by default, people want to use something else because they can. The anti-M$ attitude plays a part also. My reason for liking FF over IE is the GUI layout and the fact that FF has so many more FREE addons compared to IE. I looked up an ad blocker addon for IE7 once and I was going to be charged nearly $80 for it. Checking now they do have a free ad blocker (Adblock Pro), but it blocks some non-advertisement images too, so I don't think it is as well matured as something like Adblock Plus.