Google Chrome could exceed 50% market share by end of 2012 (study)

There’s no denying that Google Chrome continues to be the darling of the web browser market. And as we predicted in July last year, Chrome overtook Firefox around November 2011.

So now the question is, when will Google also wrestle down Internet Explorer, and become the undisputed king of the browser world? In December 2011, Chrome 15 became the most popular browser in the world, beating Internet Explorer 8, but if you combine all IE versions, Microsoft still holds the number 1 spot.

Equipped with the latest web browser statistics from StatCounter, we set out to see when Chrome is likely to achieve more than 50% market share.

Chrome is still growing, IE is still shrinking

The web browser market, spanning January 2011 to January 2012, looked like this:

The clear trend during 2011 was that IE was shedding users, as was Firefox. Chrome was gaining users, as was Safari. But with the very small market shares for Safari and Opera, the changes for those browsers aren’t really visible in the chart.

Chrome already passed Firefox in November last year, just as our prediction from July 2011 said it would.

When will Chrome topple IE?

Then there are two interesting questions we face:

  1. When will Chrome overtake IE to be the number 1 used web browser worldwide? Our prediction made in July 2011 was that it would happen in June 2012.
  2. When will Chrome rise above 50% usage worldwide?

To answer these questions we look a year into the future, to January 2013, and predict how each of the browsers will fare. We based this prediction on the average monthly change in market share each browser had during January 2011 to January 2012, which was:

  • +5.08% – Chrome
  • +2.27% – Safari
  • -0.13% – Opera
  • -1.69% – IE
  • -1.75% – Firefox

As you can see, this means IE, Firefox, and Opera will keep slipping, and Chrome and Safari will keep increasing. As with any similar prediction, there is a big element of uncertainty here, especially given how fast moving the web browser market is. Also, we don’t take into consideration whether the usage for each month equals 100%, because the change is calculated for each browser separately.

When we add our prediction to the actual numbers up until this point, we get this chart:

If our prediction comes true, Chrome will by May 2012 be neck and neck with IE, and by June, it will have taken the lead. Note that this would be right on track with our prediction from last year.

Even more interesting, by the end of the year, Chrome will be approaching the 50% mark and by early next year, it will have passed it. It’s very likely that, at some point, the increase for Chrome will level off, but we think this will not affect it reaching over 50% market share. At worst (for Google), a leveling off in the popularity will only delay what is all but inevitable at this point.

The web browser war continues

Any which way you turn this, it’s clear that Google Chrome is on a roll and that it’s set to overtake IE after just having conquered Firefox. When it will happen is just a matter of time, and we look forward to seeing how the web browser war will develop. Obviously the progression for the browsers we have predicted cannot continue forever, as it’s consistent each month. There will be events happening and new products introduced – both hardware and software – that will affect the usage.

But nonetheless, we’re of course chuffed that our prediction from last year about when Chrome would pass Firefox turned out to be correct. Now we’ll just have to wait and see how our predictions about Chrome’s total dominance, reaching 50%, will turn out.


  1. I don’t think your prediction is very accurate. You seem to be assuming an exponential growth — but while Chrome *did* have a more or less exponential growth at one point, it has “only” seen almost linear growth (of pretty much exactly 1% per month) for more than a year now. So even if it keeps on like this, the 50% point will be much further away: somewhere around November 2013.

    (For the much nearer #1 point, the difference shouldn’t show significantly yet — your prediction is probably off only by about a month in this case.)

    Having said that, it doesn’t really sound likely that the growth will continue untempered like this till the 50% point. While it’s perfectly possible for this point to be reached ultimately, it seems more probable to be several years away still.

    Either way, Chrome is clearly winning big time — and I feel quite ambivalent about this. On one hand, it means a further boost for modern browsers with good support of recent web standards, and patent-unencumbered video codecs in particular. On the other hand, Chrome as shipped by Google is not free software (although most of the code base is); so in a way it’s a return of proprietary browsers — while just a few years ago it seemed inevitable that the free Firefox will become dominant soon (and in fact already did in many regions) 🙁

  2. Firefox sucks. They gotta fix their memory leaks first. I’ve tried several hundred times to keep using Firefox. But, looks like it’s getting over now. I consider to switch to Chrome. SeaMonkey far better than Firefox.

  3. @modraideja Actually, Firefox does not use more resources than Chrome. There were some problems with older versions, but in the latest versions it is pretty much solved.

    I’ll admit it, I’m a Firefox user. I don’t think I could even use Chrome. The Google company behind it is always on the verge of becoming what they say they won’t be: evil.

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