First of all, let me wish all of you a great year 2009! As an old year ends and a new year begins, it's a good time to do some statistics. One of the statistics that web developers are interested in is, which browsers and operating systems visitors use to access their websites. Let me share some of the interesting figures regarding the mysql.com website with you.
(click to enlarge and see more detail)
The spreadsheet contains data for December 2008 (another sheet for November 2008) in a pivot table style. In the columns you see the browsers and operating system and in the rows the continents and regions, with the shares in the respective cells. Fairly self-explanatory as I hope ;).
Usage shares on the mysql.com site generally favor browsers and operating systems that are more widely used by technically advanced people, compared to general global usage share statistics, like the probably most famous one at marketshare.hitslink.com. While the general global share for Mozilla Firefox is "only" 21.34 % as of December 2008, about 54 % of the visitors on mysql.com use Firefox. Visitors most likely to use Firefox come from Europe, Oceania and North America.
Just as the global share for Firefox is constantly increasing (from 16.80 % in Dec. 2007 to 21.34 % in Dec. 2008), the share for Firefox at mysql.com has increased from 48.96 % to 53.90 % during the same period.
Internet Explorer has always had a hard time, compared to global shares, so you find its share at mysql.com at only 33.62 %, 63.17 % of which use IE7 (making up 21.50 % of the total share) and 34.89 % of which use IE6 (making up 11.87 % of the total). For comparison: in December 2007, Internet Explorer found itself at 41.40 % (IE6 with 51.58 % still leading ahead of IE7 with 48.14 %, making up 21.35 and 19.93 % of the total). Internet Explorer has by far the strongest share in Asia, followed (with some distance) by Central America, South America and Africa.
So while Mozilla Firefox gained about 6 percentage points, Internet Explorer lost about 8.
Shares for Opera, Safari and - since September 2008 - Google Chrome are constantly between 3 and 4 %. There is hardly any trend that can be recognized as stable, so we'll have to wait and see what 2009 brings (sure will be exciting).
Also the shares of the operating systems are comparably stable (at least compared to the movements happening with IE and Firefox). Windows decreased its share (again from Dec. 2007 to Dec. 2008) slightly from 82.69 % to 80.83 % while MacOS increased from 6.44 % to 7.70 %. Linux has changed only from 10.41 % to 10.97 %. So there is a slow trend from Windows to MacOS. You may want to compare these figures with the global OS usage shares from marketshare.hitslink.com.
Windows is strongest in Asia and weakest in North America, Linux is strongest in Europe and weakest in Asia and MacOS is (little surprising) strongest in North America and weakest in South America.
Other than in the 90s and the early years of this decade, there is now a wide choice of web browsers across all the widely used operating systems and there has never been as much competition as today which results in noticeable quicker development. As the browsers of previous (browser) generations finally die out and recent browsers implement the W3C standards more and more completely, web developers will have an easier life to create rich internet applications with less pain, despite the higher number of web clients.
2009 is certainly going to be an exciting year in regard to web browsers. How will Internet Explorer 8 affect the usage shares? Firefox 3.1 is on its way, about to be released around the same time as Internet Explorer 8. Maybe even Firefox 3.2 may make it to a final release in 2009. Opera will release version 10, Safari 4 is under development and there is certainly more to come from Google Chrome. I can't wait to see what all these numbers look like when 2009 is over.