In short: Firefox has long been considered one of the best alternatives to the world’s most popular browser, Chrome, especially among Linux aficionados. So it’s a little surprising to find out that a Mozilla product has lost quite a few users over the past three years – 46 million to be exact.
This figure is taken from native Firefox Public data report and featured in the Reddit threat u / nixcraft (across itsfoss). It shows that at the end of 2018, the browser had 244 million monthly active users, but by the second quarter of 2021, the number of users dropped to 198 million.
According to StatcounterFirefox currently holds 3.45% of the desktop, mobile and tablet browser market, behind Safari (18.65%) and Chrome (65.18%), which has long been at the top. This is just slightly above Edge, which has a share of 3.41%.
Firefox’s market share has not always been straightforward. In late 2009 – seven years after its launch – when Internet Explorer was still king and Chrome was in its infancy, Mozilla had nearly 32% of the market and IE about 56%. But by mid-2013, Firefox’s share had halved as Chrome began its climb to the top.
There are several reasons Firefox has been draining users lately. Rivals Chrome, Edge and Safari are the default browsers on Android, Windows and Apple devices respectively. And the companies behind them are often aggressive in their efforts to attract users: last year, the Chrome Web Store briefly warned those using Edge about the potential security risks by asking them to switch browsers. Microsoft was also to blame for this tactic.
Another contributor to Firefox’s downfall is likely browser bugs such as the lack of significant performance updates and overhauls that have put some users off.