The latest data on browser trends from Sitepoint show that more people browse the Web on smartphones than use Internet Explorer 6 and 7 combined. Those two old clunkers have been the bugbears of Web developers for years, requiring sites to degrade as nicely as possible to that least common denominator of browsers. But it’s a new world now; 6.95% of Web activity in November 2011 was on mobile browsers, and only 6.49% was on IE 6 or 7.
As Richard MacManus pointed out this week, there are lots of interesting trends in Web browsing lately. Another big story is that Google’s Chrome (our consumer product of the year) has eclipsed Mozilla Firefox as the number 2 browser for the first time. But the shift from desktop to mobile is the real trend. The days of developing for the worst desktop browser are drawing to an end, and having the best possible mobile site has become a priority.
The dominant mobile browser is Opera Mini/Mobile, with 22.49% of the mobile market, up almost 1% from last month. There’s a reason it made our top 10 mobile products of the year. Behind Opera, Android (20.41%) and iPhone (19.53%) are neck and neck. Android was slightly down, iPhone was slightly up. These are followed by the Nokia browser (11.94%) and Blackberry (8.2%), both of which are down for the month, and the long tail makes up the rest.
Mobile has to be a priority now, and not just for developers and designers. Google has put lots of muscle into mobilizing the Web for site owners and advertisers. In June, it launched a Google Sites tool that lets anyone build a free mobile site from a set of templates. In September, it began to incentivize AdWords advertisers who have good mobile sites. And at the beginning of November, Google launched a PR blitz called GoMo to drive business owners to mobilize their websites. It’s in site owners’ and advertisers’ interests alike to make sure everyone goes mobile now.
The world of browsers is in flux. Chrome has passed Firefox, and mobile is bigger than IE 6 and IE 7. Internet Explorer still rules the world, mind you. 40.63% of Web use in November was on IE, most of it on IE 8. But there was a surge of 5.7%, the biggest growth in share of any browser last month, toward IE 9+, showing that people are upgrading their browsers at last.
See all the stats on Sitepoint.