IE has ended another year with a huge slide in market share. Google's Chrome posted record growth.
According to StatCounter, IE had a huge drop in usage and fell 1.98 points from 40.63 percent to 38.65 percent share. At first sight that is dramatic, but at a closer look, the drop fits nicely into the average, slightly slowing drop of IE share over the past year. In November, IE's share was somewhat inflated, likely due to a massive advertising campaign. That campaign ran out in December and IE continued to drop. Microsoft sees it differently and ignores IE share overall, but focuses on Windows 7, where IE9 is the most popular browser globally and in the U.S. Across all operating systems, however, we know that Chrome leads the charge.
Chrome, making a huge jump in December, was up 1.58 points or 6.15 percent to 27.27 percent, which gives it a 2 point lead over Firefox. December was the strongest month of growth for Chrome ever and concluded a year in which Google gained a staggering 42.5 percent of market share (11.59 points). Firefox halted its declined and gained 0.04 points to 25.27 percent. there were only two months in 2011 in which Firefox gained market share. Overall, Firefox dropped by 5.41 points and gave up 21.4 percent of its usage share.
The 6-month trend of browser market share indicates that IE losses are accelerating (IE lost 3.82 points in H2 versus 3.53 points in H2), while Mozilla's losses are somewhat stable (2.68 points in H2 versus 2.73 points in H1). The introduction of silent updates for IE in H1 of 2012 and the launch Windows 8 will be critical events for Microsoft and largely determine how low IE's share can sink. Google will more and more rely on advertising campaigns to support Chrome growth and could gain substantially more share if Chrome OS shows signs of success. Mozilla's future is unclear, but we know that it will receive about $1 billion from Google in royalties funding that it can use to invest in its browsers and fix problem areas such as its current rapid release cycle implementation as well as feature delays.