Firefox is great, so why has it lost nearly 50 million users?
Reddit user nixcraft noticed in Mozilla’s own public data report that Firefox has lost 46 million users in the past three years. Like Player Reports on PCFirefox still sits well with 198 million monthly active users, but that number was much higher at the end of 2018 at around 244 million.
The internet is an ever-changing beast, of course, while Firefox accounted for about 30% of all browser use in 2008 (behind Internet Explorer’s impressive 60%), Mozilla’s once popular browser now sits under 3%. Firefox currently sits at # 1 on our list of the best web browsers, but if it’s so much better than the competition, why are people shying away from it?
Over-muscled by Google
There are several reasons why the migration is happening, and why Chrome primarily benefits from it. Many websites are optimized for Google’s web browser, with faster load times and easier access to other products in its ecosystem such as Google Sheets and Google Meet.
Many companies also use G Suite, which makes downloading Chrome preferable over other available browsers. Chrome also has the benefit of being the default browser on all Android devices, and of course Google is happy to invite you to download Chrome if it catches you using its services on another browser like Edge.
Speaking of which, Edge is now based on Chromium and offers more compelling benefits than Internet Explorer now retired from Microsoft, with instant web compatibility and support for Chrome extensions.
Firefox of course has its own add-ons and long-time users will often refer to its privacy advantage, but recent updates have been a bit lackluster and are significantly slower than browsers based on Firefox. Chromium. Many users will also take the path of least resistance, and given the annoying Google and Microsoft ad campaigns that get you to use their products, it’s understandable that people end up giving in to get some peace.
Google’s anti-competitive approach to browsers is cause for concern, but Firefox isn’t going to go away overnight, despite being strangled by Chromium-based competitors. SonFoss, which originally reported on nixcraft’s Reddit thread recommends downloading Firefox for use as a secondary browser in an attempt to combat Google’s quest for dominance, and it’s hard to argue with, but we doubt that it will work in practice.
Mozilla needs to improve its performance to match that of Chromium if it is to remain a viable alternative, as all the improved security and customization in the world won’t help if it takes forever to load your favorite websites.