November and December were really strong months for Firefox. Many suggested those gains were only attributable to increased home usage over the holidays -- and that Firefox would fall back to pre-holiday levels in January.
That didn't happen. Firefox not only held onto the gains it made at the end of 2008, it added a fraction of a point to finish January at 21.53%.
Chrome's now been available for 5 months, 2 of them as a finished product. It ends January at at a somewhat uninspiring 1.12% of the global market. Chrome still hasn't been able to put in full a month that matches the excitement and usage of those first few days way back in September when it hit 1.16%.
Now all of that's probably from website downloads so we'll have to wait and see if they can do significantly better with Google Pack and that OEM distribution everyone's been talking about. Maybe February will be their big month?
Safari continues to ride Mac OS X adoption to increased usage share and closes January with 8.29% of the global browsing market. Nothing really unexpected there given Mac's recent strong showings.
Opera actually lost market share but so little that it doesn't require any generosity to say it was basically flat at 0.70%. The good news for Opera, as I said a while back, is that with the total browser market growing so quickly, even with their share remaining flat or falling slightly, their absolute number of users is still increasing and so probably is their Google and Ask search revenue.
Finally, and no surprises here, I.E. is the big looser again in January. It drops another half of a point this month to end January at a new low f 67.55%. Every month in recent memory has been a negative one for Internet Explorer's total share. I like that trend. I expect we'll see another pretty bad month in February before I.E. 8 ships, something might slow their fall a bit.
update: I almost forgot one of the most exciting bits of information in the latest report. Internet Explorer 6, the scourge of the Web, has finally dropped under 20% global share.
At the rate it's falling, we'll surely see I.E.6 dip below 10% by the end of 2009. It can't happen soon enough. In addition to the sharp decline of I.E. 6, Microsoft isn't having a lot of luck with I.E. 7 either. It's been basically flat at about 47% for the last six months. We'll have to wait and see if I.E. 8 is enough to get them back some momentum.
NetApplication's Global Market Share Statistics is based on aggregate data from ecommerce, corporate, and content websites from dozens of countries in regions including North America, South America, Western Europe, Australia, the Pacific Rim, and Parts of Asia and represents approximately 160 million unique monthly visitors.
update 2: Looks like I jumped the gun a little bit. I've adjusted the numbers to match what I believe is the final tally.