Firefox May Have Lost Up To 12% Of Its Users So Far In 2021

Firefox is the default web browser installed on most Linux distributions. It is a well-known browser by Mozilla that respects user privacy by design, and currently remains the only major web browser pushing for open web standards and community interest rather than giant corporations like Google, Microsoft or Apple.

The existence of Firefox is important for the open source community. Both to prevent the monopoly of these corporations on the web and also to ensure a free and open source web browser (and engine!) remains accessible for end-users.

However, Firefox has been recently struggling on many different fronts and on a number of issues and topics. We have covered a story in October, 2020 where Mozilla’s CEO was found to be getting a large $2.4M annual salary, while 25% of Mozilla’s workforce was let go because of financial issues at Mozilla. And yet, Mozilla is promoting initiatives to fight political ads, misinformation and “promote diversity” rather than fixing its own problems.

Today, there is another issue to discuss, which is the browser’s marketshare.

Just since the beginning of 2021, and according to StatCounter, Firefox may have lost up to %12 of its userbase. In January, Firefox marketshare was 8.1% of worldwide desktop usage, but at the end of June, it became 7.17%, which indicates that the browser has lost a large portion of its userbase in a matter of 6 months:

firefox 5

StatCounter uses the following methodology to provides these statistics:

In other words we calculate our Global Stats on the basis of more than 10 billion page views per month, by people from all over the world onto our 2 million+ member sites.

StatCounter FAQ

Different statistics sources may provide different numbers. W3Counter statistics show that Firefox had a 4.1% marketshare in January, 2021, and that it shrank to 3.3% in June. Hence, Firefox may have lost 20% of its userbase so far in 2021 according to this data source.

This situation, sadly, is not expected to get better. The new Firefox design introduced in version 89 seems to have pissed many users off the browser, and subreddits such as /r/Firefox are full of complaints about the browser and its issues on different websites.

On the same subreddit, around 49% of users said that they prefer older user interfaces of Firefox over the new Proton interface design:

firefox 7

The same StatCounter statistics suggest that Microsoft Edge browser now has a marketshare of 8.1% worldwide, which means that the new browser was able to beat Firefox in just one year since its initial release by Microsoft.

Of course, this could be due to many different factors; such as the huge marketing for it by Microsoft, and including it by default in the updated versions of Windows 10, and nobody was expecting Mozilla’s efforts to match that of Microsoft.

However, Mozilla’s situation is concerning because there doesn’t seem to be any core change in its policy toward any of these challenges. Its heavy investment in politics, social movements and other side issues is not paired with the same investment in making the browser better for its users day by day.

All of these statistics, by the way, are of course for the desktop platform only. Firefox on mobile is almost non-existent; with only 0.51% of global marketshare, with other browsers such as Samsung’s default web browser, UC browser and Opera having more marketshare than it, despite being much smaller in age and efforts.

Firefox is an important piece in the open source software ecosystem. However, these monthly news are signs of a nearby death if no measures are seriously taken to address the decreasing userbase each day.

Sidenote: FOSS Post has been featured in the “Top 20 Open Source Blogs to Follow in 2021” by FeedSpot.

16 Comment
The Mighty Buzzard July 21, 2021
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Correction to the last paragraph: s/is/was/ Firefox used to lead the way in technical goodness, now they focus on UI and social justice instead. Nobody runs a browser because it has better politics or looks prettier than another, they run it because it does what they want better than the next guy.
Linux Guy July 21, 2021
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I have been a Linux user for years, I remember when it was one of the only browser choices available. I used to be a big fan of them, had them as my default browser for a long time. Installed it on work computers and everything. Now, they've gone political, and on a lot of issues I very strongly disagree with them. I removed them from my computers, my phone, tablet. I won't touch their software anymore. What's sad is that I think having them around is extremely important, they're the only browser not build on the Chromium platform. Chrome, Brave, Vivaldi, Opera, Edge, everything else is Chromium based. Until they apologize and avoid political issues altogether, I won't even consider going back. Very sad to see a once great organization kill itself like this.
Minessota Klei July 21, 2021
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Firefox for me is the best browser! It has always been my favourite!
IOS July 22, 2021
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They got woke and jumped in bed with commies. Go WaterFox, an open source fork.
jaggi July 22, 2021
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Firefox is better and safe browser than chrome or its variants as most ads ,spyware,malware are targetted towards chrome.
quant@gmail.com July 22, 2021
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I like the new theme for firefox , matches kde and gnome themes perfectly, firefox should introduce qt6 version of firefox as kde/qt does not have any mainstream browser.
chipster July 22, 2021
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I was also very disappointed when Firefox decided to become woke and get political. The loss of market share is an appropriate response to the firefox leadership and policies. From a technical point of view, firefox completely kills my older 4 GB linux laptop on a regular basis, sometimes it will lock it up to the point that I cannot even get to a terminal to issue a "killall firefox" command. I should be able to run firefox on my linux laptop with 4 GB of ram without it consuming 100% of the cpu and memory and killing the machine, but I guess the firefox developers are all using new go fast machines with a lot of memory.
Simes July 26, 2021
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Very occasionally I load up Firefox again to check if a site that does not work properly in another browser might work in Firefox, then regret it. Quite why they decided to annoy the user base by making all the addons cease working and the interface horrid, I do not really understand. And changing the language used was weird. But in reference to Chipster, my 8GB desktop with 8GB cache can run our of memory if I leave Firefox running for a couple of days. Something in there has a memory leak and I have no addons any more, so it is not them.
Aion July 27, 2021
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I second this. After the last couple of updates where Firefox removed features I liked and added other features I didn't, I finally had enough after years of being a Firefox user. Some time spent searching and trying out different browsers later, I settled on Waterfox and wish I had done it sooner. It's everything Firefox used to be and stand for before they started ruining it.
Ryan July 28, 2021
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Don't like that they went so political (although people tend to ignore Google (Chrome/Chromium) and MS (Edge) are actually worse with woke politics), but I'll stick with FF as having Chromium based browsers dominate the internet is a terrible thing.
OkinKun August 15, 2021
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Weird.. I've been using Firefox since the start, and recently it's become my main browser again, for most people I know.. Chrome has started to suck lately.. And google recently blocked Chromium from using the google sync features.. So the only decent option now is Firefox, once again. Plus FF is by far the fastest/safest browser for me now, and seems to be the most compatible with the most sites I use.
jawz101 August 15, 2021
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https://github.com/mozilla-services/shavar-prod-lists/blob/master/disconnect-blacklist.json Firefox Tracking Protection blocks the stat counter companies mentioned in the article. So instead of measuring browser share you're measuring tracking protection 🙄
Nonerequired August 21, 2021
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It is not true. In Strict Mode Firefox blocks StatCounter https://imgur.com/XR7uqgF Many Users use strict mode to prevent tracking. User agent is not a good way to track activity. Because users use firefox for privacy and security. Also many of them use extensions including random user agent switcher. There is no reliable source for track firefox users because of its nature.
JohnIL September 25, 2021
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I confess that when I install a Linux distro I don't bother to even try Firefox anymore. I quickly download and install something else. Usually Chrome, Brave or Edge beta are the ones I tend to use. I know for many it's always something that tends to make users switch away for Firefox. Either its crashes, or slow page loading or breaks web sites. Some of this stems from their obsession with privacy at all costs. I am not even sure how many give a shit about privacy anymore? I guess maybe there is a small percentage that do but it's not helping Firefox in any way with better user numbers. Maybe it's time to look at what Chrome does right and copy that?

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