What is the most popular web browser in 2022?
I’ve been working on the Internet since the early 80’s and its predecessors, like ARPANET, before that. So when the Web, or WEB as we called it then, arrived, I started to keep a close eye on web browsers.
Web browsers are still the primary way we connect to the endless fields of data, stories, and video that make up the modern web. Today, Apple Safari on smartphones – thanks to the iPhone – and Google Chrome on the desktop are ways to work and play on the web.
Historically, it has been difficult to get accurate data on which browsers were really the most popular web browsers. Granted, many companies have claimed to have good numbers, like NetMarketShare and StatCounter, but their numbers are massaged. However, the US federal government’s Digital Analytics Program (DAP) gives us a count of the last 90 days of US government website visits. This doesn’t tell us much about global web browser usage, but it’s the best information we have today about US web browser users.
And the top web browser is, according to DAP’s 5.65 billion visits over the last 90 days (drum roll, please): Google Chrome with 48%. That’s down slightly from last year when Chrome had 48.3%.
This drop is not due to a sudden increase in Edge or any other alternative browser. Perish the thought. On the desktop, Chrome rules.
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But, in the past 12 months, we have seen a huge increase in smartphones over PCs for web use. In 2022, 54% of the web browsing market belonged to smartphones rather than PCs. In 2019 and 2020, smartphones won over desktop computers by 46.9% to 50%. Today, smartphones rule.
Beware of web designers: if you’re not developing sites for smartphones, you’re making a big mistake. Tablets? The tablet market is down to just 1.8%.
As for smartphones, Safari rules. Macs are a little more popular, having reached 10.4% of the PC market as of 2021. But with a 35% market share, iPhones dominate both the smartphone and smartphone browser markets. Indeed, the iPhone iOS is now the most popular operating system of all.
All varieties of Windows combined represent only 31.1%.
Android? It only has a 20.7% share The only other browsers that matter to smartphones other than Safari and Chrome are Samsung’s built-in Internet with a tiny 1.1% share and the generic Webview from Samsung. Android.
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When it comes to desktop web browsers, Chrome is even bigger than it looks at a glance. Its open-source foundation, Chromium, is also what Microsoft Edge runs. Edge, with 6.7% of the user base, is now the third-largest web browser. Except for Mozilla Firefox, all other major web browsers like Opera, Vivaldi, and Brave run on Chromium.
Firefox is in fourth place and is doing poorly. Over the past 12 months, Firefox has fallen to 2.6% from 2.7% last year. In 2015, when I started using DAP’s numbers, Firefox had an 11% market share. In 2016, Firefox had fallen to 8.2%. It experienced a slight upward rebound in 2018 to 9%. Despite its advertising agreements with Google, Mozilla has laid off more employees. Firefox, frankly, is becoming irrelevant.
Finally, finally, long, the dying Internet Explorer (IE) has finally completely disappeared from the list. It went from 2.2% in 2021 to being in the equally raced category with everyone at 1.9%.
In short, today’s internet belongs to Chrome on the desktop and Safari on smartphones. Nothing else really matters.