Web Browser Trends for 2008

Since the year is nearly over it’s an excellent time to see how the top web browsers have faired in 2008. Market Share by Net Applications has a wonderful website that allows you to view both the current market share of each browser as well as past trending data.

Microsoft Internet Explorer
It’s no surprise that Internet Explorer still holds the largest market share ending November with approximately 69.77%. However, Microsoft’s popular browser has seen a steady decline of over 5.5 percentage points since the beginning of the year.

Mozilla’s Firefox has successfully capitalized on Internet Explorers lost gaining almost 4 percentage points since January. In November, Firefox reached 20% of the market share for the first time demonstrating its viability.

Apple’s Safari browser has also gained in popularity this year although the rate is slower than Firefox. The maximum gain is less than 1.5 percentage points but that isn’t bad considering that Safari started the year at 5.82 percent.

The beta version of Google Chrome was launched on September 2nd, 2008. Even in its beta form it quickly attracted a core user base thanks to the Google brand and several innovative approaches. At present, the 0.83% of market share may not seem that impressive but at barely three months old, it is worth following closely, especially when your keep the beta status in mind. There is little doubt that Chrome will make an impact on the market shares for 2009. Chrome is attempting to leave their beta status in January and is aggressively pursuing options to include the web browser as preinstalled software on new desktop and laptop computers.

Opera and Netscape
Although both Opera and Netscape still appear on the rankings both only command three-fourths a percentage point or less. The trending for each of these browsers is equally unimpressive. Both have seen fairly stagnant results throughout the entire year.

So what do these results mean to you? If you are used to developing your sites solely for Internet Explorer it is time to start testing your sites capabilities on other popular browsers. The gains made by both Firefox and Safari deserve your attention for 2009. It is still unclear how Google Chrome will impact the market but more than likely this browser will become increasingly popular.

Data provided by > HitsLink Market Share