Which Anti-Virus software is most popular?


It’s a question I’ve often pondered myself, and while I have no illusions over the almost impossible nature of ascertaining entirely definitive conclusions, a market share analysis report from OPSWAT has at least shed some light on the subject:

This report shows usage data for security applications on Windows systems. The data was collected using OPSWAT’s AppRemover tool, which utilizes the detection capabilities of the OESIS Framework to collect information regarding the applications installed on endpoint computers. This tool is used around the world by home and business users, both expert and inexperienced in security software. The sample is assumed to be representative of the market for this report, based on the wide accessibility of the tool to a large range of users.

Reports of applications installed on host computers are created. These reports are then compiled to generate the market share calculations. More than 120,000 data points were compiled for this report. Please note that OPSWAT is not a research institution; this report aims to distribute the unique data collected to inspire public discussion, not to make any claims as to why changes have occurred.

As I said, not conclusive by any means, and even OPSWAT includes a statement to that effect. But a guideline nonetheless and, in my opinion, a pretty accurate one at that. Here are the worldwide market share figures extracted and compiled by OPSWAT:


With this accompanying report:

Avast continues to dominate the worldwide antivirus market, as it has for the last few years. Now at 17.4%, the vendor has slightly increased its share compared to the previous 6-month period. However, its top two competitors, Microsoft and ESET, increased their shares at faster paces of 1.8% and 2.0%, respectively. Over this period, Microsoft climbed from 3rd to 2nd on the list, and ESET from 6th to 3rd. These top three companies’ increase in market share led to a general decline in share for the challengers. The biggest loss came from AVG, who fell from 2nd to 5th place. Overall, the top ten vendors included in this report are increasing their hold on the market, with a 1.2% gain for a total market share of about 89%

The results shown by OPSWAT are fairly predictable really, at least they fit well into my expectations: Considering Avast is the leader in innovation and new features, especially among freeware, it’s no great shock to see it setting the pace. MSE has enjoyed favorable editorial and user reviews ever since its initial release, its reputation for simplicity and being light on resources has endeared it to many, and later versions have seen vastly improved detection rates – so, certainly no huge surprise to see MSE placing second. Similarly, ESET’s lightness on resources and uncomplicated design have been widely acknowledged among the shareware offerings.

No great surprise either to see some of the expensive shareware appearing down the list, and AVG’s fall from favor has been well documented. All in all, pretty much what one would anticipate.

OPSWAT’S full report also includes statistics specific to North America, as well as market share figures for Windows operating systems and Instant Messenger software – view the full report HERE.


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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.

13 Comments

    • Hey MB – Do you mean comment here or in a follow up article? Suites have their advantages and disadvantages. I guess most disadvantages would relate to older machines with limited resources. The biggest advantage being that 100% compatibility and zero conflicts (between components) are all but guaranteed.

      • The biggest problem I’ve faced in the past is that the Firewall and A/V need to work hand in hand (no conflicts). This to me is what a Suite is all about. The added extras only help to strengthen the Suite. Bu,t thats my opinion, Mindblower!

  1. I’ve never been one to follow popularity. I am more interested in what works for me. One has to wonder how long avast will hold their market domination if they keep having the kinds of problems they’ve had with the introduction of version 7. 7.0.1407 was a nightmare to so many users, and then they did it again with the release of .1451, last week. I’d been an avast user since ’09, I was able to get past the February debacle, but after that .1451 release, and the system lockups and unresponsive programs that it brought, I uninstalled avast and went with AVG. Yes, I gave up some nice features with the switch, but a stable system is far more important to me.

    • Hey Aztony – I suspect many people would also follow the “what works for me” principle… I know I do. 🙂

      And yes, Avast has had its fair share of problems lately, but all fixed now with .1456.

      Cheers… Jim

      • but all fixed now with .1456.

        So they say, Jim. But if you read the forum, people are still having some issues. I think I’ll stick AVG for a while.

        • Avast free is my AV of choice aztony, I didn’t actually experience any issues myself, even with the troublesome versions, but I have read many such reports. All I can say is that .1456 is working fine for me, no problems.

          Had I experienced the same issues, I’d probably be looking elsewhere too… not sure it would be AVG though. 🙂

          Cheers… Jim

  2. As often happens I’m well out of the mainstream here. I’ve used Zone Alarm in various guises for many years; I’ve found it capable, reasonably quick when scanning, very comprehensive, and reasonably priced – though there are free versions, I’m happy to pay for the extended version’s extra capabilities.
    However, they don’t advertise much as many of the more popular programs; I wonder if this might have something to do with it being so low on the scale?

    • Hey TNH – As ‘aztony’ commented earlier… whatever works!

      The lack of advertizing may certainly be a contributing factor. ZoneAlarm has always been more known for its Firewall than AV, even though both are available together in free and shareware packages. Both packages appear to include very good feature sets too, certainly at least comparable with the opposition… beats me! 🙂

      • Years ago, ZoneAlarm was bought out (and that’s when a lot of people started finding faults and complaints started pouring in). I was a ZoneAlarm follower ages ago. Have tried out their free firewall and a/v programs, and the only irritating fact which ticked me the wrong way, was their pop-ups to get a registered (paid) version. There are other bugs, but I’ve placed the zone in the dust, Mindblower!

  3. I have been using Viper for over 2 yearrs and have been so happy with it. Did you ever check it out.? It warns me not to open certain websites, etc. etc.

  4. Most of the antivirus programs (free or paid) have given me problems after a while. I have an older machine and some of the programs just take too many resources. Some were good at one time, but don’t do a good job now, in spite of popularity. The one that works the best for me consistently is Vipre from GFI. It is not very expensive, even for multiple machines and it has frequent updates. It works very well; I recommend the Internet Security version. I have used many of the ones mentioned and had to quit using them for one reason or another. Symantec has not been very good at detection for a long time. AVG and AVAST both gave me problems using too many resources. Panda was good, but got too bloated; Panda cloud
    is pretty good, but won’t work with other antivirus programs. McAfee used to be about the best, but slipped in recent years. Trend Micro isn’t bad,
    but doesn’t play well with certain other programs. Don’t remember much about Kaspersky when I tried it; it’s supposed to be quite good.

    Any of the top ones, kept updated are better than nothing and most will do a decent job. In my opinion, Vipre is still the best (notice it’s Vipre; not Viper).