Browser statistics: Catching the best surf on the Web

Browser statistics - Featured image

You don’t need to go far to surf. Or at least that’s the case if you’re prepared to surf waves of data, not water.

Ever since Jean Armour Polly coined the phrase “surfing the internet” in 1992, we’ve all used it to describe the process of browsing through the world’s largest database. Granted, it might not be the gnarliest activity, but for billions of people around the world, life wouldn’t be the same without the internet.

Just as you’d check a surfboard before entrusting it with your balance, you need to be sure about a browser before you install it on your PC or smartphone. That’s why we’ve compiled the latest browser statistics to help you manage even the largest waves on the World Wide Web.

Key browser statistics

  • With 67% of the market share, Chrome is the most popular browser today.
  • The most common browser resolution is 1920 x 1080.
  • The majority of desktop users are on Windows.
  • 52% of all website visits come from mobile.

Browser market share statistics

1. With 67% of the web browser market share, Chrome is the most popular desktop browser.

(NetMarketShare)

Google’s web browser is more popular than ever, taking a huge chunk of the market for itself. In fact, browser stats for 2019 show that Chrome is so far in the lead that only one-third of the whole market belongs to other browsers like Edge and Safari. Mozilla’s Firefox sits in second place with 9% of the market share. Surprisingly, Internet Explorer is still going strong; with 7.7% of market share on desktops, it’s the third-most popular browser. The list of top 10 internet browsers includes Samsung’s mobile browser, QQ, and UC Browser, but these have a significantly lower market share than the leaders.


2. 87% of desktop browsers are running on Windows.

(NetMarketShare)

Year after year, Windows remains the champion of desktop and laptop operating systems. The same goes for web browser statistics, which show that the top web browsers typically run on Microsoft’s platform. Not even Mac OS, coming pre-installed on every single Apple computer, comes close. In fact, Mac OS accounts for barely 10% of the market share, while Linux OS and Linux browsers account for a modest 2% of the desktop and laptop market share. When optimizing your website, there’s no doubt that it should look great and work smoothly on browsers for Windows.


3. The most common browser resolution is 1920 x 1080.

(Statcounter)

As of October 2019, the resolution commonly known as Full HD, or 1080p, has overtaken 1366 x 768 as the most common resolution on both desktop and mobile devices. Indeed, 10% of all devices accessing the internet right now are using this resolution. The previous dominance of 1366 x 768 in browser resolution statistics was due to laptops; this resolution has been a standard for laptops for many years, but manufacturers are finally phasing it out in favor of higher pixel density. And, by the same token, many smartphones now perform well at 1080p.


4. The older version of Chrome is more popular than the newest one.

(Statcounter)

Browser statistics by version give us an interesting overview of the current split among browsers and their versions. Chrome for Android is in the lead with 34%, but what’s really interesting is how desktop users have stuck with older versions of this browser. A significant 22.8% of internet users are still on Chrome 77.0, while only 2% of surfers have updated their Chrome browser to version 78.0 at the time of writing this article. Updating your browser can sometimes feel like a chore, but keeping the outdated version is a significant security risk, even on your home PC.


5. More than half of all internet browsing takes place on mobile devices.

(Statcounter)

Smartphones have already overtaken computers when it comes to how we browse the internet. The latest browser stats show that nearly 52% of the market share belongs to mobile devices, while desktop accounts for 44.5% of the market share. As for tablets, their popularity among internet users is declining slowly. These devices now account for just 2.9% of all web visits.


6. Americans mostly surf the Web on their computers.

(Statcounter)

While mobile surfing has overtaken desktop browsing globally, that’s not the case in the United States. In October 2019, desktops accounted for 48.8% of all website visits in the US, while smartphones were just behind, with 45.5% of the market share. Tablets accounted for 5.7% of all visits, down from 7.6% the month before.


Browser usage statistics

7. 46% of Americans have used private browsing at least once in their life.

(DuckDuckGo)

Incognito mode or private browsing lets you hide your online activity from others using a shared computer. It can also protect you from online trackers. Whatever the reason, 46% of Americans have decided to give it a shot at least once. On the other hand, 33% of people haven’t even heard about this mode in browsers.


8. Millennials are five times more likely to know about private browsing than baby boomers.

(DuckDuckGo)

Browser use statistics and habits vary significantly between age demographics. That’s why it’s no surprise that nearly 60% of people under 30 years of age have used private browsing, while about the same percentage of users over the age of 60 haven’t even heard of it.


9. “Embarrassing searches” are the most common reason for using incognito mode.

(DuckDuckGo)

Why do people switch to private browsing? Well, for a bit of adult entertainment, it seems. Searching for any kind of embarrassing content is the reason for switching on a private browser, user statistics for both desktop and mobile show. In the same vein, avoiding suggestions and browsing history are also very common. After all, when one makes an “embarrassing search,” they surely don’t want the evidence to remain in their browser history.


10. 64% of Americans would like their browser to offer greater protection of their privacy.

(DuckDuckGo)

Most popular web browsers offer some kind of private mode to help prevent websites from tracking your movements. Some of them can even block ads. Still, most people wouldn’t mind a more secure browser to keep their online information safe.


11. More than eight out of 10 internet users in South America use Google Chrome.

(Statcounter)

Around the world, Chrome is without a doubt the browser of choice. However, this browser’s usage statistics by country and continent vary wildly, dipping to 52.8% in Oceania and jumping all the way up to 81.7% in South America.


12. In the United States, Safari is much more widely used than in other countries.

(Statcounter)

Considering the US is the home of Apple, it’s no surprise the company’s browser is commonly used in the States. Chrome still takes the biggest chunk of the US market – 51% according to the latest browser statistics – but Safari is used 32.8% of the time across both desktop and mobile devices. Even though iPhones and iPads are selling well in Asian markets, Apple fans still prefer Chrome to Safari.


13. With 12% of the market share, Opera is most popular in Africa.

(Statcounter)

Opera has been the underdog of internet browsers for a long time. Even today, browser popularity statistics show that Africa is the only region where it has managed to engage more than 10% of the user base. In other regions, Opera’s usage rate lags behind even Edge and Internet Explorer.


14. In Europe, Firefox is used by 7% of all internet users.

(Statcounter)

Mozilla’s browser might not be in the lead anymore, but that doesn’t mean it’s out of the race. Whether it’s Firefox for Android, Windows, or iOS, this browser has remained installed on a lot of devices across Europe. Some even consider it the best browser for security, as Mozilla is always on the lookout to protect its users against trackers and other methods advertisers now use.


15. 93% of all internet searches go through Google.

(Statcounter)

When the name of a search engine becomes synonymous with internet searching, it’s a clear sign that it has made a lasting impact on society. We all “google” things every day. Indeed, “googling” has become so pervasive that we don’t even think about the brand name anymore. So, what about “Binging”? Well, Microsoft’s search engine accounts for 2.5% of all internet searches, while Yahoo! is in third place with 1.6%.


16. Google’s search engine is even more commonly used on mobile.

(Statcounter)

When a search engine comes as the default for a certain product and is well-integrated into an internet browser, statistics show that it is most likely to win over its competition. Google is the search engine of choice for pretty much everyone using a smartphone today. Almost 96% of all searches go through Google, which is no surprise given the prevalence of Android devices, which use this search engine by default. However, the race for second place looks quite different here. Chinese search engine Baidu accounts for 1.1% of all mobile searches, while Yahoo! is in third place with just 0.9%.


Mobile browser statistics

17. Chrome holds nearly 61% of the mobile browser market share.

(Statista)

Unsurprisingly, the most popular desktop browser in the world is strong in the mobile market, too. However, it’s not as dominant in this field as it is in among desktop users. Mobile is where Safari shines; it accounts for 20% of the mobile browsing market share. These two are by far the most popular browsers on mobile. Samsung and UC Browser take 6% of the market share each, remaining strong even in the current market.


18. On tablets, Chrome and Safari dominate the browser market share.

(NetMarketShare)

When you’re buying a tablet, you basically have to choose between an iPad or Android device. Whatever option you choose, each comes with a preinstalled browser, and it’s either Google Chrome or Safari. According to browser usage stats, nearly 55% of tablet users choose Chrome, while for 36% of tablet users the browser of choice is Safari. No other browser even comes close to these two goliaths.


19. Just 5% of tablet owners use the default Android browser.

(NetMarketShare)

Despite it coming installed on Android tablets, the default Android browser is hardly a hit, with under 5% of tablet users bothering with it. It seems most users would rather stick with something they know: Chrome or Safari.


20. Safari is more popular on tablets than it is on smartphones.

(NetMarketShare)

Even though Apple’s mobile browser remains far more popular than all competitors except for Chrome, its success is even more pronounced on tablets. For smartphone browsing it accounts for 27% of the market share, while for tablets that figure is nearly 35%. Web browser usage statistics rank browsers like QQ, Firefox, UC Browser, and Opera Mini at the bottom, each taking less than 1% of the mobile cake.


21. 70% of smartphone users browse the internet using an Android device.

(NetMarketShare)

The iPhone might be the trendiest device to own, but it can hardly compete against the hordes of Android smartphones produced by dozens of manufacturers. This has created a direct split in the internet community, where iOS devices account for 29% of all smartphones that access the internet today. Apple’s share is better among tablets; iPads account for 40% of tablets connected to the internet today.


22. Mobile browsers are spoofing their actual resolution.

(Statcounter)

Nominally, the most common resolution on mobile browsers is 360 x 480. But that isn’t really the resolution you see, or under which your browser actually runs. After all, most current smartphone screens actually operate at 1080 x 1920 or higher resolution. In reality, your browser sends websites this fake information so your device receives a version optimized for smaller screens, not one designed for desktop devices. Browser statistics for mobile reveal that, for example, just 1.7% of devices run their browsers at 720 x 1280 pixels.

Frequently asked questions

What is the most used browser?

Google Chrome is the most common browser for both computers and mobile devices. More than half of all internet users browse the Web using Chrome and, year-on-year, even more people are deciding to install this browser on their devices.

What are the trends in browsers?

Chrome and Chrome-based browsers will continue to dominate the market in the upcoming years. Even Microsoft recently announced its plans to adopt this platform for the new version of its free web browser, Edge, while Safari and Opera are already using it. Mobile browsers will get more love, as the majority of people around the world now browse the internet on their smartphones. There are also some predictions that premium, ad-free browsers will rise to fame, but so far little development has taken place in this field.

Why is Chrome so popular?

Speed is the main reason Chrome ranks above all the other browsers on the market. Chrome boots up faster than Firefox and Internet Explorer and loads web pages faster thanks to its JavaScript-based engine. It was also the first browser to treat each tab as a separate process, negating the chance of the whole program crashing if a page is slow or overloading the user’s computer. Finally, since it’s a Google product, it has the best integration with the company’s other services. This means the customization and synchronization of user data is straightforward and requires just a few clicks. For many, Chrome is the best browser, hands down.

Is Chrome better than Firefox?

The Firefox vs Chrome battle has been raging for a few years now. These are the leading internet browsers right now, and both are popular for different reasons. Desktop is where Chrome really shines, while Firefox has proven to be a little bit faster on mobile. Both browsers are easy to use, fast, and highly customizable, while Firefox works a little bit better under a heavy load. Newer versions of Firefox for Android and desktop also protect the user against tracking cookies and other methods of data harvesting advertisers might use, while on Chrome you’re required to use third-party add-ons. In the end, both are high-quality products, so your choice mostly boils down to personal preference.

How many browsers are there?

There are many browsers available on the market, almost all of them free. The five most common are Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari, and Opera. When it comes to mobile devices, there are two main browsers smartphone users usually choose from – Chrome and Safari – with Safari being primarily used on Apple devices. Browser statistics show that Chinese browsers are gaining popularity, which is no surprise given the country’s Google ban.

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