This new benchmarking study shows Mozilla Firefox edging out Google Chrome for the first time in years. What does it all mean?
For several years, Firefox has steadily been losing market share to Chrome in the browser wars. In 4 years, Chrome went from 3% to over 30%, while Firefox has lost over 10% in the same period. I don’t really count Internet Explorer, which has dropped from over 50% to 20% over the same period, since the browser relies so much on distribution advantages rather than actual browser superiority.
The recent benchmarking study takes the mean of 4 performance categories to construct the leaderboard. Does the fact that Firefox 22 came out on top signify a change in direction for the browser’s usage and market share trends?
Why Do People Change Browsers?
I used to use Firefox exclusively. Around 2010, I noticed how Firefox seemed to be getting slower and slower, had trouble managing multiple tabs, was sluggish starting up. And after a couple of friends told me how fast Chrome was and that it had most of the extensions I was looking for, I switched. The first impressions were great and I locked myself in.
My story is probably the same as a lot of people who decide to switch browsers. There has to be a pain point, and the solution has to give a good first impression.
Firefox’s trouble today is that Chrome doesn’t cause any major painpoints. People don’t care about security. They care about speed and functionality. And in the case of Firefox, the speed and performance improvements over Chrome aren’t noticeable enough to cause people to overcome that “behavioral inertia” that keeps them using what they’ve always been using.
Will Firefox Ever Reclaim Power?
While Firefox may not see a mass migration because of one benchmarking study, it does represent an opportunity they can take advantage of. The ability to market itself as the fastest browser may end up appealing to many users. If they can get developers to start favoring Firefox as the primary extension platform, they may end up with some more exclusive selling points.
Or maybe they should just hope for Google to voluntarily shut down Chrome like they do to everything else.