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Posted by on Aug 3, 2009 in Random | 8 comments

Internet Browser Statistics & User Comparisons

Following up on Stews’ comment/question on my post yesterday, I did a little reading and statistics collecting, and here’s a little summary of what I found:

Based on information available, 47.3% of Internet users in June 2009 accessed the web using one of the Firefox browser versions. By contrast, combined stats for the Internet Explorer browser versions still in use (IE6, IE7 and IE8) over the same period totalled 40.7% making Firefox the preferred browser overall.

With just under 1.6 billion Internet users globally, the Firefox usage figure equates to just over 755,000,000 users. Not a billion, but certainly heading in that direction.

Hope that that answers the question Stew, and that my calculations are reasonably correct.

The sources of my information, and a number of other interesting points that were encountered:

W3 Schools have been tracking web usage statistics for a number of years, and from their site I found browser statistics for the first half of 2009. These show that Firefox usage has grown steadily each month (except for the small drop May to June.) By contrast, Internet Explorer 6  and 7 show progressive declines in usage, with only IE8 gaining users since the beginning of the year.

What is noticeable is that Firefox seems to have become the preferred browser for the majority of Internet users globally. When we add all three IE flavours together (in June), we get a combined user base of 40.7% compared to Firefox’s 47.3%.

Browser Statistics Month by Month (from W3
2009 IE7 IE6 IE8 Firefox Chrome Safari Opera
June 18.70% 14.90% 7.10% 47.30% 6.00% 3.10% 2.10%
May 21.30% 14.50% 5.20% 47.70% 5.50% 3.00% 2.20%
April 23.20% 15.40% 3.50% 47.10% 4.90% 3.00% 2.20%
March 24.90% 17.00% 1.40% 46.50% 4.20% 3.10% 2.30%
February 25.40% 17.40% 0.80% 46.40% 4.00% 3.00% 2.20%
January 25.70% 18.50% 0.60% 45.50% 3.90% 3.00% 2.30%

Personally, the figure in the above table that scares/troubles/worries/amazes me the most is the almost 15% usage that IE6 still holds. IE6 is now over 8 years old, has been superseded by two newer editions of the Internet Explorer browser, and has been generally vilified by the Internet community (both developers and users) for its poor security standards and its multitude of bugs and incompatibilities.

Based on the figures above, and the number of internet users in the table below, there are still almost a quarter of a million users running IE6. Scary thoughts fill my head…

Okay, so that’s browser usage, but what about user numbers?  Well, from Internet World Stats, I found the following info:

AFRICA REGION Popul. (2008 Est.) % of Global
Internet Penetr-ation Growth
(2000 – 2008)
% of Global
Africa 975,330,899 14.50% 54,171,500 5.60% 1100.00% 3.40%
Rest 5,734,698,171 85.50% 1,542,098,608 26.60% 332.60% 96.60%
WORLD 6,710,029,070 100.00% 1,596,270,108 23.80% 342.20% 100.00%

Whilst the growth of Internet use in Africa is a huge 1100%, penetration (i.e. the population percentage with access to the Internet) at just 5.6% is still woefully low. Especially when compared to the global average of almost 24%. To put that into simplistic context: globally, about 1 in 4 people have regular access to the ‘Net. On the African continent, it’s about 1 in 20.

South Africa specific information is a little dated, but still fairly telling:
ZA – 48,782,755 population
4,590,000 Internet users at December 2008
This represents 9.4% of the population
Only 378,000 broadband internet subscribers as of September 2008 (I have read elsewhere recently – will confirm the source – that SA broadband uptake has been increasing rapidly in the first part of this year, so this figure may need some adjustment.)


  1. Very interesting stats. Firefox rules! Maybe something to do with it being a hell of a lot more friendly than IE, and loads less hassle to install and uninstall. MS always puts out products that assume the end user is a total idiot (which he/she may be, but that's no reason to rub it in).

    Interesting stats for SA. I am the Secretary of an NPO that supports initiatives in the local township. One project we support is an internet cafe. Unfortunately the take up is still slow as R10 for an hour is still too much for most township dwellers to pay to learn a technology that takes many hours to master. Computers in the townships are used for piracy, music and CV's.

    • Thanks for the stop-past flytrap, and welcome to the BlaBla Blog!

      Had a good chuckle at "MS products that assume the user is a total idiot"! Whilst that is probably true in many cases, I often silently thank the MS developers for making things as "idiot-proof" as they do. I regularly do entry-level end-user training, and believe me, there are still a lot of "idiots" out there!

      Sad to hear that the computer centre you support is underutilised and predominantly wasted as an opportunity to grow and learn and research. Think many users could gain so much more than Facebook and mp3 downloads from the Internet.

  2. Such an enjoyable read, and fantastic comments

  3. Why does no-one recognize Flock ( as a browser? It offers some awesome features, perfectly aligned with social networking which has become a large part of the "internet community" today… If you haven't heard of it, please have a look and let me know your thoughts… Ta

  4. Hi Universal Sport, and welcome to the BlaBla Blog!

    I think the reason that Flock (and a number of others) are sometimes overlooked is based purely on numbers. Their usage is just too low (in comaprison to FF and IE) to be considered?

    Flock specifically is based heavily on the Mozilla/Firefox architecture, and many of it's features are available to FF users as add-ins and extensions. For example, many of the features that makes Flock attractive are handled by the Firefox Yoono ( extension. This single extension has almost 3 million downloads itself. And it's not the only one that has similar features.

    I have used Flock in the past, and whilst it is a pretty solid browser, it didn't absolutely blow me away. I guess it often comes down to personal preference?

  5. A day or two after my post, and IE6 lament, I find out about the launch of the new "IE6 No More!" campaign from this post over at Mashable…

    Code to support the project has been installed in the BlaBlaBlogs' footer. If you don't see it, you are okay. If you do, go upgrade your browser already! 🙂

  6. Just wanted to say that w3schools is one of the more liberal (towards firefox) when it comes to browser statistics. Most other statistics sites put Internet Explorer at 60 – 70 % of internet users.

    But on the IE6 note: The only way to get people to upgrade from IE6 is to make their web experience insufferable so that they have to.

    Everybody make sure your page breaks in IE6! Go go go!

    • Hi Simon – Welcome to The BlaBla Blog, and thanks for the visit!

      You make a valid point regarding w3schools stats. I guess the old adage about making statistics say what you want holds true in this case.

      As for making IE6-ers web experience insufferable… well, whilst it's a novel idea, I'd probably stick to the gentle persuasion approach for a while still – that 15% of users could still represent a large number, and I'd rather have them move to a newer browser with my site still listed in their frequently viewed pages and bookmark lists 🙂


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