Europeans switched from Firefox to IE and Opera in March

According to StatCounter, March was a tough month for Firefox. It dropped 1.73% in Europe (down to 36.81%). On the other hand, IE gained 1.01% (up to 50.15%), and Opera gained 0,55% (up to 7.9%). It looks like Firefox users may actually be switching to IE and perhaps also to Opera, which must be worrying for Mozilla. Is Firefox is more vulnerable to changes in the market than other browsers? As we recall, Chrome actually caused an increase in the number of Opera downloads, and accelerated Opera's desktop user growth. …

Safari and Chrome are also battling it out between them, and Chrome seems to be winning. Safari dropped 0,12% in March while Chrome gained 0,16%. Safari 4 did borrow liberally from Chrome (which borrowed liberally from Opera), but it didn't seem to help. Still, if we consider the vast amount of resources at Google's disposal, and the amount of money they have spent on Chrome advertisements all over the Web, the money does not seem to have been well spent. On the other hand, with a mere 1.88% of the European market, Chrome is still hailed as a success by just about everyone.

It should be noted that with 3.69% in July 2008 and 7.9% in March 2009, Opera has nearly doubled its market share in Europe in less than a year. This is also reflected in the number of monthly users, as reported in our quarterly results. Note that Opera is actually growing in all markets we are keeping track of, including European countries.

See the graphs from StatCounter here:

Update: It looks like the StatCounter stats have been updated since I posted this about 3 hours ago. Now IE has 52.9% (even more growth), Firefox 35.06% (and an even steeper dive), Opera 7.01%, Safari 2.35%, and Chrome 1.88%. Screenshot:

(So are these stats actually 100% correct? Probably not, since "global" browser statistics are very unreliable. But it's fun to "spin" the numbers a bit, especially after the media has been taking stats from certain unreliable stats companies as gospel for years.)


7 thoughts on “Europeans switched from Firefox to IE and Opera in March

  1. If Opera is masked as Firefox, Opera will send Firefox's useragent string. It will not mention "Opera" anywhere. So yes, Firefox will show up rather than Opera.Opera needs to mask as other browsers for countless major sites.

  2. I guess IE grows due to the launch of IE8.I have a question, if I mask Opera, e.g. as as Firefox, what will be in the statistics? Opera or FF?

  3. Anonymous writes:

    false, according to this:"Opera used to identify as Internet Explorer by default. That is, the user agent identifier it sent to websites deliberately made it look like Internet Explorer. However, when Opera did this, it was still trivial to detect that it was really Opera. Here is what the websites saw when Opera identified as Internet Explorer:Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.0; en) Opera 8.54"

  4. @anonymous:You are not talking about the same thing. One thing is "identifying" an other thing is masking. If you chose to identify Opera as IE or Fx, the UA string will look like a IE or Fx UA-string, and that is most likely what you will think it is if you do a use regex on the UA string to identify the browser and version. But on the other side, if you do a search, you can still find out it is Opera after all. This is an example of the normal OPera UA-string:Opera/10.00 (Windows NT 5.1; U; en) Presto/2.2.0This is identifying as Fx:Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 5.1; U; en; rv:1.8.1) Gecko/20061208 Firefox/2.0.0 Opera 10.00This is identifying as IE:Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; en) Opera 10.00Then, on the other side you can also chose to mask as IE or Fx, if you do that you won't find Opera in the UA-string at all. So if the statistics rely on identifying the browser just using the UA-string (Which I guess most/all do), then they will think you are IE or Fx, and not Opera.Example of masking as Fx:Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 5.1; U; en; rv:1.8.1) Gecko/20061208 Firefox/2.0.0Example of masking as IE:Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; en)You can set to mask as IE or Fx in site preferences, and Opera will also switch automatically using this list (indirectly)– ƘƘ –

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