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"The Others" Are Coming – Upcoming Trends in Browser Market Share

  |  March 5, 2014   |  Comments

Here are three small trends that have emerged among Web browser reports that might forecast big changes in the Web in 2014 and 2015.

Lately we have been taking a closer look at browsers, resolutions, and operating systems when analyzing opportunities for a site. Often we are looking at browser versions to help dictate test plans, filter out bots from Web analytics, and understand what functions in JavaScript will work best on a site.

We monitor Web analytics on almost 200 corporate sites and microsites across a broad array of B2B and B2C organizations with global reach to millions of visitors every month. This broad array of sites allows us to see trends across countries and industries in Web technologies and visitor behaviors. Recently, looking at seven sites from seven different organizations that collectively average more than 5.5 million visits per month from both consumers and business users, we saw three small trends emerge among Web browser reports that might forecast big changes in the Web in 2014 and 2015. The trends are listed below:

1. Usage of the "other" browsers is growing more rapidly than the top four (Chrome/Android, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari). On the sites reviewed, the others (lead by browsers such as Opera, Silk, YaBrowser, and BlackBerry) grew year over year by approximately 23 percent and the growth rate accelerated most significantly in the last three months of 2013. There were more than 25 different browsers, with Opera accounting for nearly half of the users in this "other" Web browsers category.



2. Amazon Silk usage is growing fast: First let's state that usage of the Amazons Silk browser, by most accounts, is approaching a whopping 1 percent browser market share. The interesting trend is that visitors and visits using the Silk browser have grown by more than 100 percent ( < .5 percent to almost 1 percent) in about six months. No other browser has grown that fast during the same time period. 

amazon-silk-browsers3. Gaming Systems browser usage is also growing: We created a segment of users with browsers/operating system combinations for Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo. This segment, which also accounts for less than 1 percent of the total users, grew by more than 25 percent last year. PlayStation users were the largest browser share among gaming Web surfers by far.


It may seem strange to talk about a set of browsers that collectively account for less than 5 percent of browser market share, especially when the top two browsers Chrome and Internet Explorer often account for 70 percent of Web traffic. Many Web developers don't even test for browsers such as Opera or operating systems such as Nintendo. But let's remember that five short years ago Chrome accounted for less than 2 percent of the browser market. Now Chrome holds the lead position and has boldly pushed us to adopt powerful technologies such as HTML5 and gracefully pushed the limits of what JavaScript can do within a browser. So while these browsers don't seem like much today, it's the trend that they represent that may be very important. Imagine what the Web could be by the end of 2015.

If the trends noted above continue at their current rate, then by the end of 2015 almost 10 percent of the browser market would be browsers and devices that most Web teams don't consider today. The browser market could be much more decentralized, with many hardware manufacturers coming to market with their own browsers. This would give each browser maker the ability to provide their own unique functionality that Web developers could utilize in developing Web applications. For example, Silk may allow Amazon customers to utilize payment and support features directly in the browser and PlayStation may embed features in the browser that make the development of community gaming Web applications more engaging. A more decentralized Web browser market could mean less conformity of standards in languages such as HTML and JavaScript and many more browser-specific Web pages. We're excited to see where this trend leads us and how it will impact corporate Web strategies.

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Mark Ryan

Mark leads the analyst team to develop ROI goals, data strategies, digital channel reporting, and establish processes for data analysis for EXTRACTABLE clients. Since joining EXTRACTBLE 14 years ago, he has worked on numerous high-profile websites including Yahoo, DirecTV, Visa, FedEx, and HTC. The most trafficked web page that he's ever worked on received 15 million unique visitors in one day, he has run analytics analysis on over 150 sites, and the biggest ROI he's ever seen on a corporate website redesign was > 800 percent. He is an active member of the Digital Analytics Association and has contributed to the DAA Education Committee for over five years.

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