Browser market share: Chrome leads the pack overall, but Safari more usable on mobile

Google’s home-grown Chrome browser reportedly leads the browser market, with higher market share across mobile and desktop devices than Firefox, Internet Explorer and Opera combined.

This report comes from social analytics company Sociaholic, which took into account the top browsers used on desktop and mobile platforms, including Windows, OS X, iOS and Android, among others. According to the research, Google Chrome has a market share of 34.68 percent, which “blows away the competition”, and actually has a bigger market share than its competitors combined. For instance, Firefox has 16.60 percent, Internet Explorer 15.62 percent, and Opera 2.66 percent.

Data from the Sociaholic report gives us a few takeaways.

  • 80 percent of the market use the top four browsers, namely Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer.
  • In terms of growth, the stock Android browser and Chrome experienced double-digit growth in terms of year-on-year growth (September 2013 compared with the same month in 2012).
  • Half of the browsers taken into consideration are actually on the decline, in terms of market share. Hardest hit was Internet Explorer. Meanwhile, Opera and Opera Mini got the smallest market share among the browsers tested.

Reports are mixed as to the actual advantages that each browser offers, however. For example, research from FixYa says that Safari is actually a more usable browser on mobile devices, and has about 58.12 market share in the mobile browser market. Additionally, Safari scored 1.31 points on the mobile usability score, which is 50 percent higher than the stock Android browser.

Even as Opera Mini for PC and mobile devices got the lowest market share in the browser market overall, however, the FixYa study cites Opera to be in the third place among mobile devices. Opera, after all, comes pre-installed on some feature-phones and entry-level smartphones, on account of its low memory footprint and ability to optimize web content for slow bandwidth and low device memory.

One thing to note with the Sociaholic data, however, is that browser share data was analyzed based on usage instead of actual install base. This means data encompassed how many pages were viewed by each browser, not taking into account the unique desktop and mobile identities of each platform. This means that based on engagement and actual use, Chrome leads. It helps that Google is heavily pushing for the use of Chrome on desktop devices, particularly with regard to the integration of services and apps through its Chrome app store.