Browser Usage 2016

Understanding the preferences of users and their typical habits on mass is key to ensuring your website meets its primary objectives. A key feature of quality assurance is to ensure a website is performing perfectly across all major browsers and devices.

It is therefore essential to analyse and keep up to date with the latest accurate statistics on browser usage. This article will explore just this, the latest available and highly accurate statistics, portraying the proportional share of unique visits, each of the largest website browsers in the world, received over the last year.

The Latest Statistics

The graph below shows the latest statistics provided by StatCounter, a free online visitor stat tool. These are highly accurate results, based on a sample of 15 billion page visits, to over 3 million different websites.

Browser Usage 2016 Graph

Source: StatCounter Global Stats - Browser Market Share

What the results say

The results show that browser usage is dominated by a handful of browsers, namely Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Opera. In fact these 5 browsers accounted for 96.5% of all website visits recorded within the sample in December 2015.

Over the course of the last 12 months, the proportional share of each browser has remained largely unchanged, with the order of popularity completely static. Goggle Chrome remains the clear browser of choice for most users, slightly increasing its majority share from 51.72% in January, to 56.89% in December. The other noticeable trend worth mentioning is the continuing decline of the once most popular browser Internet Explorer (IE). Amazingly IE was the browser of choice on desktop as recently as April/May 2012. IE saw a decline in global browser share in 2015, from 21.16% in January, to 16.52% in December.

What about your users?

The results above show the trend of users across the globe. They are based on billions of page views and are therefore highly accurate. However the exact results for your website may differ slightly. This is for a number of reasons. There may be geographical trend differences, with different browsers having varying levels of popularity throughout the world. Furthermore your website may attract a specific group of people, who have different preferences to the 'average user'.

It is highly likely that the browser usage share on your website closely resembles the graph above. It is always worth checking your google analytics for a more accurate interpretation. Alternatively contact me and we can discuss trends in your country and industry.

Why do I need to know this information?

A website will often render differently across different browsers and devices, which can impact the usability and user experience. There are many causes for this including the installed fonts used, the operating system and the display resolution settings. But arguably the most significant cause of these differences is the browser chosen. Every browser has a layout engine that interprets a site's CSS code and converts it into a visual image of a web page. This can lead to browser specific bugs and areas of friction to the end user.

The importance of a bug free interface on all browsers

Users are judging your company and business on every inch of the interface. Browser compatibility problems will have a significant impact on the end user experience, as well as the overall performance of your website. Not only do they have a negative impact on the users perception of your website (and therefore business), but they can also commonly block a user from using your website at all.


Globally, website usage is dominated by a handful of browsers, namely Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Opera. Browser usage share will vary slightly between different websites. Although it is important to ensure your website performs optimally across all browsers and devices, it makes intuitive sense to analyse the most popular browsers first from your analytics and ensure there are as few bugs and functionality issues as possible within those.

To maximise the usability and the user experience of your website, check website performance across all major browsers and devices with browser testing services.

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