Safari & Firefox Marketshare Continues to Grow in 2006

Some of the latest market share numbers from Net Applications:

Some of the key insights from Mac Daily News:

According to data collected by Net Applications’ “Market Share,” Apple Computer’s Safari Web browser continues to gain market share in the Internet browser segment. In December 2005, Safari’s market share was 3.07%. In December 2006, Safari’s market share stood at 4.24%. The rise from 3.07% to 4.24% represents a year-over-year growth of 38.11% for the month of December.

Safari experienced a 5.21% increase from November 2006 rising from 4.03% to 4.24% in December 2006. Safari is a Mac OS X-only browser.

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser continues to lose share, dropping below 80% to stand at 79.64% in December 2006. In December 2005, Internet Explorer’s market share was 85.05%. The fall from 85.05% to 79.64% represents a year-over-year loss of 6.36% for the month of December.

Firefox went from 9.57% in December 2005 to 14.0% in December 2006, a 46.29% increase year-over-year.

Interestingly, if you dig into the numbers you see that the Safari market share is now basically equivalent to the size of the Mac OS marketshare, implying that the growth to date has been coming from two factors:

  1. Growth of Mac OS marketshare
  2. Growth of Safari adoption by Mac OS users

Unfortunately for Apple loyalists, #2 has likely played its course as most Mac users have upgraded to Mac OS 10.2 or later now, where Safari became the default browser (back in 2003, when Microsoft killed Internet Explorer for the Mac). That means that going forward, Safari growth has to come primarily from growth in Mac OS marketshare.

The Firefox growth is stupendous, and hats off to my friends at Mozilla. 14.0% is amazing, and has a lot to do with the official change in policy by many websites to include multiple browsers as officially supported platforms for development of new features. (It also has something to do with their rumored economic success of late.)

Many people don’t realize how much additional development and quality assurance effort goes into designing web applications for use on multiple browsers and operating systems. However, users vote with their actions, and they have said, loudly and clearly, we support multiple browsers.

I’m glad to say that as of 2006, eBay officially does too.

I, of course, always seem to be off the beaten path. As more and more Mac users adopt Safari, I have recently moved to Firefox 2.0 for my default browser. Maybe Safari 3.0 & Mac OS 10.5 will change my mind.