Top web browsers 2020: Chrome takes a punch, Firefox stays alive

Google’s Chrome took a punch last month, falling a full percentage point in browser share, while Microsoft’s Edge added a third as much to its bucket.

Meanwhile, Mozilla’s Firefox effectively held steady.

According to data published Thursday by U.S. analytics vendor Net Applications, Chrome’s September share tanked to 69.9%, falling back under the important psychological bar of 70% for the first time since May. The one-point decline was the largest since October 2019, when Chrome dumped 1.1 points.

September’s decline meant that Chrome has fallen for two straight months, very uncharacteristic of the browser leader. Chrome last had a two-month downturn in November-December 2019. After that earlier loss, Chrome rebounded by adding four full percentage points over the following three quarters. In other words, while it may be tempting to see any sustained slide as evidence that Chrome has peaked, previous predictions along those lines have been proven wrong. Several times.

Computerworld‘s revised forecast — based on Chrome’s 12-month average — stayed on the side of growth, with Chrome’s browser pegged to reach 71% by June 2021 and 72% by January 2022. The latter, however, was three percentage points lower than last month’s forecast (75% by January ’22), illustrating the tenuous nature of Chrome’s growth. As Chrome’s total climbed, it became more difficult for it to erode rivals’ shares, largely because what remained represented core users, those most dedicated to each browser. The sunshine soldiers of Firefox, for instance, were long gone over to the Chrome enemy. Those who have stuck with Mozilla are, by definition, the hardcore or perhaps just stubborn.

Edge and the battle of attrition

Microsoft’s browsers in September recovered about a fifth of their massive losses of August, ending last month at a combined 12.7%, or up four-tenths of a percentage point.