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The Firefox Domination

September 12th, 2007

Today, for the first time since I let FeedBurner collect my visitor stats, I examined the numbers more closely. I was quite surprised to find that Firefox so totally dominated the web browser statistics. Almost 7 out of 10 visitors were using Firefox 2.0.

Browser stats aug -07, www.hans-eric.com

The reason I got so surprised was that the figure was something like 10% the last time I heard. (Get off my back will you! I’m not a web developer 😉 ). I realized that those numbers must have been several years old, so I did a little googling and came up with some fresh statistics (which by the way showed that Firefox was at 10% in 2004):

2007 IE7 IE6 IE5 Fx Moz S O
July 20.1% 36.9% 1.5% 34.5% 1.4% 1.5% 1.9%

It seems like Internet Explorer has 58.5% of the market, but only 11% among my visitors. From these numbers and the fact that you (my dear reader) is most likely a developer, I draw the following conclusions:

  1. Firefox rocks among developers, and
  2. Internet Explorer is a bleeding product

It is also interesting to see the relatively big differences in Safari (4% vs 1.5%), Opera (3% vs 1.9%) and Other browsers (9% vs 2.2%). I don’t know what to make of it though.

FeedBurner is awesome by the way. No wonder Google bought them.

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  1. September 12th, 2007 at 23:01 | #1

    I was literally contemplating the stats for my own blog, which is also dominated by Firefox users, when I read your post. This is interesting (from my perspective) because Internet Explorer dominates amongst our firm’s web site visitors (at http:/www.rrs.co.uk).

    I was wondering whether the domination of Firefox users is partially due to its early adoption of RSS?

    As a developer, I can certainly vouch that if its works in Firefox, it will probably work in most other browsers!

    As a consultant, I think almost all our (corporate) clients use Internet Explorer because it can be managed via group policies and the like.

  2. September 13th, 2007 at 13:17 | #2

    Alastair: The RSS adoption is certainly one reason for the success, but there are lots of other reasons as well. I, for instance, fell in love with the tab-based surfing and the blocking of pop-ups.

  3. September 13th, 2007 at 15:47 | #3

    My VB.NET site ‘should’ see a lot more IE traffic than FireFox, right? After all, it is geared toward developers using Microsoft products. However, Google Analytics reveals about the same pattern as you’re seeing here, about 48% IE to 46% FireFox.

    On the non-tech sites I manage where I have analytics installed IE is slightly higher but even there it tops out at about 70% usage.

  4. September 13th, 2007 at 17:33 | #4

    Hans-Eric: I would agree that Firefox’s rapid success is far more complex than just RSS – but in the context of blog sites with RSS feeds, I think its early adoption of RSS **might** be a contributing factor. RSS was arguably promoted by the blogosphere, so it seems natural that a browser that was an early adopter would be favoured amongst active blog readers.

    Frank C: I note that your site supports RSS and is in a blog style, which I would contend, tentatively supports my theory. Sites with RSS feeds are more likely to attract FF users because of its early support for them.

    The issue has intrigued me so I’ve just checked our internal analytic software. Our main site and a site that promotes the Revell Research Systems Prize at the University of Plymouth (http://prize.rrs.co.uk) both have IE around 10 times more popular than Firefox, which is then followed at a great distance by other browsers.

    FireFox is more popular on the blogs site than the other two sites, with IE being perhaps just 7-8 times more popular in terms of raw hits.

    At first, I thought this might not particularly support my assertion that FF was a browser that naturally attracted bloggers, but there is no doubt from our stats that the **active** bloggers and those subscribing are considerably more likely to be using FF.

  5. September 13th, 2007 at 18:51 | #5

    Alastair: I have a sense you might be right. To check the validity of your theory one could look at the stats of a non-developer blog and see if it follows the same pattern. At least that would prove my own theory wrong: that FF has become the favorite browser of developers, and not bloggers and subscribers in general. It would be a really interesting comparison.

  6. September 13th, 2007 at 19:13 | #6

    Hans-Eric: I’ve just posted an article on my blog to see what others think. I agree with you – it would be a really interesting comparison…

  7. September 14th, 2007 at 07:33 | #7

    Alastair: Great, let me know if you get some clarity.

  8. Andrea
    September 14th, 2007 at 07:55 | #8

    Firefox is an essential tool for web developers. I only launch IE for browser compatibility testing, and quickly switch back to Firefox as soon as I’m finished.
    On the other side, I have removed all the Firefox ‘Live Bookmarks’ years ago – it was (and probably still is, unless it has improved dramatically in Firefox 2) really primitive – and use netvibes to quickly skim over my RSS feeds.
    I wonder how many other web developers do the same (possibily with iGoogle or other rss aggregators/readers).
    I’ve landed on this blog a couple of times before, and I was always coming from your posts on dzone (via netvibes) – other developers might be coming the same way, so that’s another pointer to the ‘developers prefer Firefox’ explanation.

  9. September 14th, 2007 at 09:54 | #9

    Andrea: I’d agree that RSS support in FireFox was primitive! My thinking was that it might have been this feature that attracted bloggers to this browser and then they liked what else it had to offer so stuck with it.

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