Google Chrome and South America, a love story

Google ChromeIn just a couple of years, Google Chrome has firmly established itself as a web browser to be reckoned with. Where once you spoke of Internet Explorer and Firefox as the two big ones, these days the duo has become a trio. The browser wars are back. Chrome has started to edge out Firefox in some countries, and as you will see in this article, there are actually countries where it’s already become number one.

This is where South America comes into the picture. Nowhere is Chrome more successful than in that part of the world.

Chrome’s popularity by world region

It’s worth noting that when we talk about market share in this article, we mean share of web usage. The data we have is from StatCounter, which is based on visitor stats from more than three million websites.

Google Chrome market share by world region

As made exceedingly obvious by the above chart, Chrome’s popularity in South America is far ahead of the other world regions.

For added perspective, here is the same chart, sorted the same way, but with the market share of Internet Explorer and Firefox added into the mix.

Web browser market share by region for IE, Firefox and Chrome

A couple of takeaways:

  • Chrome has passed Firefox in South America and is now behind 33.2% of the web usage in that region.
  • In all other regions, the order is: IE, Firefox and then last, Chrome. That said, Chrome still has a significant chunk of the market in each region.

Plus a few general observations about IE and Firefox since we have the data right in front of us. We hope you’ll excuse us for this little tangent:

  • The two strongest regions for Firefox in terms of market share are Africa and Europe. Interestingly, it’s almost neck-and-neck with Internet Explorer in both.
  • For Internet Explorer, the two strongest regions are North America and Asia.
  • The weakest region for Internet Explorer in terms of market share is Europe.
  • The weakest region for Firefox is South America. Since it’s also Chrome’s strongest, it’s the only region where Chrome beats Firefox.

But this article is mainly about Google Chrome and its position in South America, so let’s look into that in more detail.

A closer look at Chrome in South America

As you can guess, Chrome has managed to break into first or second place in a number of South American countries. In fact, the vast majority of them. It’s number one in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay, and number two in Brazil, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.

Here’s what the division between the top three web browsers looks like in these countries (i.e. in South American countries where Chrome is the second-most or most-used web browser):

Top South American countries for Chrome in terms of web browser market share

Just like the other charts, this one was sorted by Chrome’s market share, largest at the top.

Now on to the obvious question…

Why South America?

That is an interesting question, isn’t it? Is Google’s brand and influence stronger in these countries, or are there other forces at play?

To be honest, we’re not sure why Chrome is so successful in South America, but maybe some readers with more insight into that region would like to chime in in the comments?


  1. I think the reason is because South America usually has slower internet connections compared to North America, Asia and Europe and no everybody have powerful hardware so users wants to get as much speed as possible from their connection/hardware. Chrome uses less resources than IE or FF and is faster

  2. i dont know why exactly, maybe we south-americans are very accustomed to changes, to conflict, poverty, rising again, all of this in a few years…maybe we embrace new good things quickly without thinking too much (maybe a mistake) but this has been the history of our generation…its hard to say…

  3. Hi!

    That’s interesting. I’m from South America (from Brazil, more specifically) and loved Google Chrome since its firts beta version.

    It’ so clean, so fast and so powerful that I actually ask another question: why is not so popular in all other regions?

  4. I am from south america and a couple of us are using chrome because: a) the automated translation from english, b) it is better on our small screens, c) it is new, and we like new, d) we will always jump in if there is a promise of speed.

  5. We serve learning content to 20,000 students in Brazil from AWS and these stats reflects what we see. What doesn’t come out of these statistics is browser version spread. Chrome versions are spread across the spectrum from 8-13 with slowish uptake of the latest versions. How that is done with auto version updates I don’t know. Another missing stat is Browser unidentified – runs at nearly 20% for our stats from Brazil. Firefox uptake of latest versions is very high. A different type of user? Who knows, but it is fun guessing.

  6. It could be because in South America google’s previous social network Orkut had and still has a major market share. Facebook is edging it out now, but they may have used Orkut to push Chrome.

  7. My guess is that computers in South America tend to be controlled by savvier users. That is, there may be fewer casual users who are using IE.

    It would make sense for this to be true if Internet use in general is not as ubiquitous as in some Western countries, or if there are obstacles that only techies are willing to overcome. Maybe the cost is higher, it’s more difficult to get a landline connection, etc.

  8. It’s not only just about slow internet connections, but also about computers with limited physical memory and security.
    Additionally: For Orkut Users (great part of the BR audience) Chrome is associated with security and improved rendering. The new Orkut UI and IE combination are tragic for users.

  9. Very intersting article as the number of Google Chrome users of our German financial news website (530000 unique user per month) is completely different.

    We only have 4,69 % Chrome users, but 46,87 % IE users.
    The reason for this is that many of our users visit our media from office (e.g. banks) where they have an IE installed on their computers and they can not use other software.

    I think that Guillermo’s explaination is very realistic for the very high usage of Chrome in South America. A lot of private internet users and a lean browser because of the slow interent connection.

  10. There was a moment when chrome popularity raised a significant quantity of users in Argentina, where I live, and was the success of a very popular site to watch movies online that needs a plugin that its best version works in Chrome. There was the breaking point when Chrome gained popularity in mainstream people.

  11. Hello! very interesting. I’m from Brazil and I love Google Chrome and I use it since its beta release. It’s the best browser among many others have experienced so far and I have reason to switch to another.

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