Firefox Continues Losing Market Share


The latest desktop browser market share figures from NetMarketShare do not paint a pretty picture for the once popular Firefox:

browser share trend-may

As you can see from the above screenshot, Firefox has been steadily losing ground until its desktop browser market share has finally dropped to a potentially disastrous all time low, now sitting at below 9% and way behind both Chrome and Internet Explorer. The strange thing is that Firefox is a great browser and still popular among more experienced users, so why the dramatic fall off in market share?

Part of the reason is obviously Chrome’s rise to prominence. With the help of its ubiquitous search engine and overall internet presence Google has pushed Chrome at every opportunity. Plus Google’s browser has generally enjoyed favorable reviews, both editorial and user.

get chromeChrome’s success is also probably indicative of your average home user’s predilection for simplicity over customization. The big difference being that, since its inception, Chrome has always been designed around simplicity and performance so has naturally attracted users whose preferences tend in that direction. Whereas Firefox built its reputation on a bedrock of ultimate customization, and changing tack with the release of Australis (in 2014) only served to alienate many existing users – prompting headlines such as: “Less Than 20 Per Cent Of Users Like Firefox’s New Australis UI” and “Firefox Australis UI revamp sparks complaints, searches for alternatives“.

Obviously, at some time, Mozilla looked at Chrome’s growing market share and decided that emulation was the way to go – big mistake! There was also a largely silent but substantial backlash over the way in which Mozilla handled the Brendan Eich situation – a decision which also alienated a significant number of long time Firefox users.


Ultimately, Mozilla has headed down a path of its own choosing rather that listening to Firefox’s army of faithful users. Whether or not that turns out to be a bad decision, only time will tell, but it sure isn’t looking good right now. I can only foresee Firefox’s market share slumping even further, especially with the introduction of WebExtentions in the not too distant future.

Is there a way back for Firefox? Or is this perhaps the beginning of the end? What do you think?

 

Posted in:
About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

23 Comments

  1. I LOVE Firefox! Chrome is so awful & minimalistic– ugh…IE (ugh x 2), Edge (ugh x 10!).

    Hey Mozilla! Hurry up & do something to get your browser back in the public eye before it’s too late!

  2. I have used and loved Firefox for years and will continue until it dies on the vine!!!!!! The plethora of add-ons (many good, some not but at least they’re available) makes it very customizable. I just hope the Mozilla people will do what’s necessary to keep Firefox alive and well.

  3. Firefox should listen to its users and potential users. I did like the freedom and customizebility of Firefox and the large number of addons. This advantage was lost when they started imicking Chrome, This is not the way to go!
    Herman

  4. the problem i have with mozilla firefox is that every few days i have to re-activate my extensions which is annoying & youtube takes forever to load if i use firefox browser. that is also annoying!!!!!!! i have started using ie (again) as well as chrome. the same add-ons (extensions) i have on firefox i have added to chrome. they work like a charm. i don’t know what mozilla is expecting us loyal users to do

  5. It’s IE that should be worried. They have lost 19.42% market share against a mere 3% for Firefox. No figures yet for Edge but by all accounts it is a “non-starter” at the moment.
    Firefox rules…..don’t be taken over by Google and Microsoft!

  6. Firefox has been a poor browser for a while now. It used to be a great browser. I have to close and reopen it constantly due to freezes. If I open more than 7 or 8 tabs and browser for more than 20 minutes, memory is consumed at an ever increasing rate until the browser finally gives up. A restart of browser will fix it for another 20 minutes or so. Don’t tell me Firefox is a great browser………..it’s not, and Mozilla has shot themselves in the foot………THAT is a big reason for their decline.

  7. A long-time user of firefox, I gave up after australius…finally went to Pale Moon and its been a relaxed, smooth and easy ride since then. Pale Moon people will actually listen to you and respond quickly… I dont even think about the browser anymore, just enjoy it.

  8. Love Firefox,dislike Chrome.Have installed Opera and use it from time to time trying to get use to it.So far no complaints with Opera and rarely a complaint with Firefox,just hope Mozilla dosent believe the hype of it failing. In a nut shell :

    ” The strange thing is that Firefox is a great browser and still popular among more experienced users, so why the dramatic fall off in market share?”

    • Excellent question pinebob! Browsers are free, right(?). So all this talk about market shares makes little sense. Your comment about “more experienced users” strikes a blow of happiness, thought I’m not sure Chrome users agree, Mindblower! 🙂

  9. I can see why chrome is ascending and Firefox is tanking, I’m having to use the Firefox’s Open in Chrome extension with increasing frequency because of Firefox’s limitations. It’s become quite tempting to change my default browser from Firefox to Chrome.

    • For a while I had Chrome as default on one computer, and Firefox as default on the other. Now I’ve changed both to Chrome although I still have Firefox open for various reasons at any given time.

  10. You know we have a lot in common. I had RS TRS-80 move to the Commodore 64 and both styles of the 128 with mouse and extra ram. I still use 2 1702 monitors for TV and camera, DVD play back. I enjoy building desk tops since Win 95 with the 5 install disks. You can build monsters, the power supply’s, memory, graphic cards, sound cards, all GEEKS know. Google Chrome is the new wave.

  11. Trouble with Firefox is their management seems non existent in steering Mozilla other than dropping projects and making Firefox more like Chrome. I don’t see the uniqueness of Firefox as I used to. But also Firefox has fallen behind in performance too. Not a lot, but enough that even Edge has taken number two in many tests and even compares to Chrome or better’s Chrome on a couple. Firefox says it has speed improvements coming in 2017 but exactly how much market share will it have shed by that time is going to determine if that will be too late.

  12. The problem with Firefox is that it crashes when more than 7-8 browser windows are open, and even fewer if one of the windows has Facebook opened in it. At least I always have opened Facebook, Gmail, my site, the site of a provider, the site i work on and that’s enough to crush it regardless of OS. At present I only use Firefox for compatibility check for the new projects i work in.

    • Christian V,

      Is your browser up to date to the newest version? Although it is no longer my favorite browser, it isn’t as bad as you claim.

      Did you really mean browser windows, or browser tabs? I have 23 tabs open at the moment and it isn’t crashing.

  13. All the current browsers are very good with some unique features. I think most users stick with what works and doesn’t see a need to switch. Edge is a good browser, but doesn’t have anything to sway Chrome users. Firefox lost a ton of users to Chrome and I doubt highly Firefox 57 will get a lot of them back. Sure it catches up to all the browsers, but does nothing special to attract back users. Would be nice to see browser market share spread out more to help stem the dominance of Chrome.

  14. I’ve recently been getting a lot of pop up messages telling me to upgrade the browser on my BlackBerry to a modern browser. I chose Firefox but I’m actually a bit disappointed. It’s been 12 days and there have already been a few crashes, just like on the desktop version. I’m anxious to move on to Google Chrome now instead.