Tag: browser stats

The Performance Implications of Android Dominance

When working with customers in Europe or who serve their data in the US and Europe, I am stunned when they ask why their performance is so much slower in certain European countries compared to the US.

Glimpsing at some publicly available stats (thank you Statcounter!), the reason is clear: Android is the dominant Mobile platform in Europe.

Mobile OS Breakdown – Europe – March 2021 to March 2022

This doesn’t hold true everywhere in Europe – in the UK (yes, it is still in Europe!), Android and iOS have nearly equal Mobile device market share.

Mobile OS Breakdown – UK – March 2021 to March 2022

But in Germany, the divide is vast, with Android clearly dominating the playing field.

Mobile OS Breakdown – Germany – March 2021 to March 2022

But there is yet another divide that is greater than even the Android/iOS split – the Android version difference. Depending on the country, your performance could be dependent entirely upon the versions of Android that the visitors use.

Starting with Germany in Q1 2022, Android usage is dominated by the three latest OS versions: 10, 11, and 12.

Android OS Breakdown – Germany – 2022-01-17 to 2022-03-27

But in countries like Spain and France, Android/9 is still a prevalent OS. This version of Android runs on much older hardware and is more likely to experience degraded performance compared to those running 11 or 12.

Android OS Breakdown – Spain – 2022-01-17 to 2022-03-27
Android OS Breakdown – France – 2022-01-17 to 2022-03-27

For teams trying to design performant web sites, this is a critical piece of information. While Mobile is the dominant platform, sites need to be designed to deliver excellent user experiences for all visitors. And in Europe, this means Android users.

What can you do?

  • Focus on rendering – Get your critical content and functionality on the page as quickly as possible. Items that are secondary (ads, tracking, marketing, etc.) can be delayed
  • Reduce your JS as much as possible – Older Android versions struggle with hardware limitations, so reducing the upfront JS processing will be critical
  • Optimize your images – Sounds simple enough, but using an image management service that provides the right image for the device that is viewing the content will make your site device appropriate

And, most importantly, use an Android device. If you make your development team use Android for a week, they might get the message that they need to do more to reach into this neglected Mobile population.

If you’re a browser geek like I am, check out this post I wrote in 2009 about the browser stats. The world is a very different place now.

Browser Wars: June was an interesting month

June is one of my favorite months. The sun returns (although in the Boston area there are concerned that it has been replaced by clouds and humidity), the kids get out of school (and get sent to camp), and the outdoor pool opens (and I actually swim in it).

In the US browser market, Internet Explorer 8 continues its slow replacement of Internet Explorer 6 and 7, finally overtaking MSIE 6 on June 11 [Stats courtesy of StatCounter].


The great news is that Internet Explorer 6 is slowly falling of the pace, relegated to large companies with proprietary code and a degree of inertia that impedes their movement to accepting new browsers.

The two-month trend does show some very dramatic changes, most notably with Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 3.


While these changes appear dramatic, the lack of absolute values to base the StatCounter graphs on means that it’s very difficult to determine if these values are a result of a shift in the actual browser market, or a result in decreasing numbers of visitors to sites with the StatCounter tracking code.

Worldwide for June, the primary trend is that the decrease in Internet Explorer 7 is matched almost precisely by the increase in the use of Internet Explorer 8.


Firefox 3 and Internet Explorer 6 remained almost completely unchanged through June, indicating that the US trend is very different than that seen throughout the rest of the world. The tracking trend indicates that Firefox 3 could have overtaken Internet Explorer 7 by the end of July.

Could have is used purposely here, as the release of Firefox 3.5 will fragment the market share for this browser, and it is not likely that it will match the stats for Firefox 3 immediately.

Despite all the claims that the browser war is over, and that applications have moved beyond the browser, it is highly unlikely that this dream will be realized in the consumer browser market until late 2010, when the effect of Windows 7 can be seen on the use of Internet Explorer 8 .

Overall, June 2009 was a month of substantial shifts in the US browser market, which will be further aggravated with the release of Firefox 3.5, and the slow and steady adoption of Internet Explorer 8 by consumer and business users.

UPDATE: TechCrunch has noted the ongoing shifts to the browser share market [here].

Browser Wars: Internet Explorer 8 Usage in US Now Tied with Internet Explorer 6

This week marks a momentous time in the history of the Internet. In the United States, StatCounter reports that for the first three days of the work week (Monday – Friday), Internet Explorer 8 usage is equal to Internet Explorer 6 usage.


Tie this to the trend of decreasing Internet Explorer usage noted late last week and the release of Firefox 3.5 RC1 and Safari 4.0 and Opera 10 in the last few weeks, and it appears that the balance of browser usage on the Internet is becoming more fluid.

Does this mean that standards will become more relevant? Can you truly count on limiting customers to one browser?

Will browser lock-in for certain applications continue to be considered acceptable?

Browser Wars: The Slow Rise of Internet Explorer 8

Since its GA release on March 19 and its addition to Windows Update in late April, Internet Explorer 8 has been gradually increasing its market share in the US. Based on the current growth pattern in StatCounter’s GlobalStats data, it appears that Internet Explorer 8 will overtake Internet Explorer 6 sometime in late May or early June.

StatCounter Browser Stats - US - 03/01/09-05/11/09

In other parts of the world, the adoption of the new version of Internet Explorer is substantially slower, and affected by regional differences in the browser population. Europe is notable in this as MSIE8 has just overtaken Opera 9.6 in the browser population in the last week.

StatCounter Browser Stats - EU - 03/01/09 - 05/11/09

In Asia, Internet Explorer 8 has moved into fourth in browser share, but is a substantially lower percentage of the population than the top three browsers. In a frightening statistic, Internet Explorer 6 is the most popular browser in Asia, indicating that path to adoption may be longer in this region.

StatCounter Browser Stats - Asia - 03/01/09 - 05/11/09

Overall the adoption of this new browser as a replacement for Internet Explorer 6 and 7 is slow and steady. MSIE8 does not appear to be significantly cutting into the Firefox population, but this could change as people begin to hear more about the features of the new browser, and Web sites begin to be designed to its features, rather than those of MSIE6 and MSIE7.

StatCounter Browser Stats – March 1-24 2009

Using the visitor trending data collected and shared by StatCounter, I have undertaken a general analysis of browser distribution by global region. These metrics are collected using the embedded tags that StatCounter customers embed on their site to collect visitor metrics for their own use.

US data shows that MSIE 7.0 is in a dominant position, with Firefox 3.0 in the 25% range of market share. This trend extends into the North American data, which is heavily influenced by the US trend.

MSIE 8.0, still reports a lower distribution than Firefox 2.0. This data is most likely based on the usage of MSIE 8.0 RC1 version, as MSIE 8.0 was only released in GA last week. It is highly probable that these stats will change in the very near future with the release of MSIE 8.0 to Windows Update.


In the EU, where fear and loathing of Microsoft runs deep and true, Firefox 3.0 is approaching parity with MSIE 7.0. Also, the perennially favoured native son Opera makes a very strong showing with their 9.6 release.


Asia is a Web designers nightmare, with MSIE 6.0 continuing to be the most reported browser. This is concerning, not simply for design reasons, but for web compliance reasons. Effectively Asia has throttled Web development to an old warhorse, but to such a degree that there must be some overriding advantage to using this browser.


As an example, the statistical comparison of four Asia nations is broken out below. We’ll start with Japan where MSIE 7.0 has a clear lead in the statistics.


However, when China (People’s Republic), India, and South Korea are added into the analysis, the pull towards MSIE 6.0 is massive.


This trend needs to be studied in greater detail in order to understand why MSIE 6.0 is so popular. Is it because of licensing? Continued use of Windows 2000? Compromised computers? The data doesn’t provide any clear or compelling reason for this trend.

Moving to Oceania shows a return to the trend of MSIE 7.0 being the predominant browser with Firefox in second place, with these two browsers showing a substantial lead over the remaining field.


South America sees MSIE 7.0 as having the largest market share, followed by MSIE 6.0 and Firefox 3.0. Effectively there are no other browsers with substantial market share at present.


These statistics show that the three most dominant browser platforms by market share are the two MSIE platforms followed by Firefox 3.0. This is likely to change with the MSIE 8.0 GA last week and its predicted release to the masses via Windows Update in the near future.

However, the release of MSIE 8.0 may not be as exponential as is predicted. Corporate IT policies, which have been slow to embrace MSIE 7.0, are likely not going to make a giant leap to MSIE 8.0 overnight. Adoption among the general population will also depend on the ability of existing Web applications to adapt to a more standards-compliant browser platform.

Noticeably absent from most of these statistics is Safari in a position to challenge the three leading browsers. This indicates that even hardcore Mac users continue to use Firefox as their primary Web application and browsing platform. StatCounter backs this up by indicating that within their data, 8.36% of visitors from the USA were on Macs, while 3.15% of visitors used Safari.
Trends to watch in the near future:

  • New browser releases (Firefox 3.1, Safari 4.0) and their effect on browser distribution
  • Uptake of MSIE 8.0 once it is released via Windows Update
  • Browser distribution is Asia

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