Firefox has made huge inroads in Europe over the past year, to the point where Internet Explorer is in danger of losing its market share lead in some countries. According to French web metrics firm XiTiMonitor, Firefox’s overall market share in the 32 European countries it measures has grown to 27.8 percent, up from just over 20 percent in January 2006.
XiTi’s statistics reflected usage for the week of July 2-8, unlike the 2006 measurements, which covered weekend use only (and therefore may not have been an accurate representation of weekday, corporate websurfing). The numbers also show significant growth during the past four months, with Firefox usage having jumped 2.3 percentage points since the beginning of March.
Firefox is most popular in central and eastern Europe, with 47.9 percent of Slovenian surfers using Firefox during the first week in July. Finland is in second place with 45.4 percent while Slovakia rounds out the 40 percent club with 40.4 percent of its residents using Firefox. Firefox has passed the 30 percent barrier in 11 other countries, including Poland with 39.6 percent, Germany with 38.0 percent, and Austria with 30.7 percent.
Firefox market share (percent); data source: XiTiMonitor
Two countries showed double-digit growth over the past four months. Ireland jumped from 24.9 percent to 38.6 percent, and Hungary went from 27.2 percent to 39.7 percent. At the other end of the spectrum are the Netherlands and Denmark, both of which experienced growth of less than 1.5 percent, to 14.6 percent and 15.2 percent respectively.
There could be any combination of factors driving the growth: security vulnerabilities, anti-Microsoft sentiment, strong local support networks for Firefox, or even just a widespread feeling that Firefox 2.0 is a superior browser to the competition. Whatever the reasons behind Firefox’s surge, it is clear that so far, the combination of Vista and Internet Explorer 7.0 have not been enough to keep European users away from the biggest open-source alternative.