Who Is Your Visitor? An Average Profile


You never really know who is going to visit your website next. You have no idea which configuration will be used, what browser will be installed, which screen resolution will be in use. However, since you’d like to comfort most of your web users, you need to know their habits and the profile of your average visitor — to adapt the design and layout to your users’ needs.

Since only 50.4% maximise their browser windows1, the screen resolution of 1024×768 doesn’t necessarily mean that your users are browsing with 1024px wide screen through your website.

Only 50.4% maximise their browser windows2
According to Roger Johansson’s survey3, only 50.4% of users maximise their browser windows.

Nothing is more valuable than the statistics you’ve collected with an analytics tool installed on your website; however particularly in the beginning of a new project it’s nice to have some good idea of what kind of configuration your visitors will probably use.

In this post we’d like to present the results from recent studies of browser market share, used OS and preferred screen resolution worldwide. Please notice that this data is only an approximation; we’ve used a number of different sources to get the average numbers we present below. Besides, statistics always depends on the readership and the topic of your project.

Summary Link

An average web user browses with Internet Explorer 6.0 on Windows XP with the screen resolution 1024×768.

8 Facts You Should Know Link

  1. The most popular browser worldwide is IE 6.0 (46.1% – 50%).
    IE 7’s popularity grows (20.18% – 22% – 33%4), Firefox has 25.5%, Safari 2.0 has 1.77%, Opera 9.x only 1.23%.

    Internet Explore has the browser usage share of 46%5
    IE6 dominates; IE 7 has already more users than Firefox 2. Stand: 01.10.2007. Source: W3 Counter6
  2. The most used screen resolution worldwide is 1024×768 (49.2%).
    1280×1024 (17.22%) and 1280×800 (9.51%) gain popularity. 800×600 is used by 8% of the visitors.

    W3 Counter, October 20077
    Most used screen resolution is 1024×768. Source: W3 Counter8
  3. The most popular OS is Windows XP (79% – 83%).
    Windows Vista is used by 7.38% of visitors, Mac OS by 3.38%.
    [MarketShare by NetApplications9]
  4. The most popular browser family worldwide is IE (64 – 81%).
    Within the last year, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser dropped 9.6 percentage points to a market share of 63.9 percent. Firefox’s market share is 14.88% – 17.4%, Safari’s 5.07%. Opera is used only by 0.87% – 1.87% of world-wide users.
    [Hitslink10, Browser Market Share White Paper11]

    Hitslink, September 200712
    Browser Market Share for September 2007. Source: Netapplications.com13
  5. The most popular browser in Europe is IE 6.x (45.7%).
    Popular in Europe: IE 7.x (31.4%), Firefox (15.5% – 27.8%), Mozilla (3.9%), Apple Webkit (1.6%).
    [AdTech14, ArsTechnica15]

    Browser Usage in Europe, July 200716

    Firefox market share in Europe:

    Firefox Usage in Europe, July 200717
  6. Internet Explorer’s usage is higher in Asia and lower in Europe. For example, the share is around 94% in Japan18, and around 56% in Germany19. [Wikipedia: IE20]
  7. The most popular browser in Russia is IE 6 (56.3%).
    IE 7 has the market share of 14.1%, Opera – almost 12%, Firefox 2 has 9% – 11.9%. [LiveInternet.ru21, Yandex22]
  8. Tech-related websites have more Firefox users.
    On WordPress.com23 among 115 million users 62.46% of users use Internet Explorer, 31% use Firefox, 3.383% use Safari, 1.78% use Opera. Among Internet Explorer users 64.10% use IE 6, 35.17% use IE 7.

Footnotes Link

  1. 1 http://www.456bereastreet.com/archive/200704/poll_results_504_of_respondents_maximise_windows/
  2. 2 http://www.456bereastreet.com/archive/200704/poll_results_504_of_respondents_maximise_windows/
  3. 3 http://www.456bereastreet.com/archive/200704/poll_results_504_of_respondents_maximise_windows/
  4. 4 http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,135556/article.html
  5. 5 http://www.w3counter.com/globalstats.php
  6. 6 http://www.w3counter.com/globalstats.php
  7. 7 http://www.w3counter.com/globalstats.php
  8. 8 http://www.w3counter.com/globalstats.php
  9. 9 http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=2
  10. 10 http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=3
  11. 11 http://www.e-janco.com/browser.htm
  12. 12 http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=0&qpmr=15&qpdt=1&qpct=3&qptimeframe=M&qpsp=104
  13. 13 http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=0&qpmr=15&qpdt=1&qpct=3&qptimeframe=M&qpsp=104
  14. 14 http://www.adtech.info/en/pr-07-18.html
  15. 15 http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070717-europeans-embrace-firefox-in-record-numbers.html
  16. 16 http://www.adtech.info/en/pr-07-18.html
  17. 17 http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070717-europeans-embrace-firefox-in-record-numbers.html
  18. 18 http://www.websidestory.com/products/web-analytics/datainsights/spotlight/05-10-2005.html
  19. 19 http://www.onestat.com/html/aboutus_pressbox44-mozilla-firefox-has-slightly-increased.html
  20. 20 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Explorer
  21. 21 http://www.liveinternet.ru/stat/ru/browsers.html?period=month
  22. 22 http://stat.yandex.ru/stats.xml?ReportID=2857&ProjectID=0
  23. 23 http://www.wordpress.com
  24. 24 http://www.spreadfirefox.com/

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex UX, front-end and performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    good to know ! thx

  2. 2

    Nice one, another great article!!

    I can’t believe the “maximize” statistics though, I’ve always seen users maximise their browser window…its the first thing they do! I’ve very rarely seen anyone using a small window for the many years I’ve been doing this. Surely if they can see the site is bigger than their window size they would maximize it anyway?

  3. 3

    My research proved the same result.

  4. 4

    Awesome article, thank you.

    I do hope you might consider reviewing various browser-stat services in a future article also though. =)

  5. 5

    this is great!! thanks SM!!

  6. 6

    as always, a great article.


  7. 7

    Rick Whittington

    October 4, 2007 1:37 am

    Excellent resource. Thank you for posting this!

  8. 8

    The “maximize” statistic is fairly misleading, as any user who has resized their browser to the dimensions of their desktop (rather than clicking the maximize button) will show up as a “no”. Mac users in particular are more likely to resize than to maximize. I’d take the numbers with a grain of salt. :)

  9. 9

    This mean one thing: I need to re-think my web designs for 1024×768.
    800 x 600 is out!
    ; )

  10. 10

    OFFTOPIC: Have you guys noticed that Google no longer paginates search results, but instead of that when you reach to the bottom of the page it reloads and shows even more results? I realized that after iI saw like number 95 of sites returned as results…. Looks like they’re borrowing from live.com image search interface.

  11. 11

    I’m glad to say that most of my visitors use Firefox then followed by IE.

  12. 12

    This is a great article. Having the research and resources boiled down to one location is handy. I am constantly looking for this kind of data in my job so I know how long it took you to put it together.

    I would like to point out some slight discrepancies. According to your numbers, Mac OS accounts for 3% of the OSes in use. Yet Safari is 5% of the market for the September time frame listed in item #4. I know Apple launched the beta of Safari for Windows (I use it daily), but can we really think that this application is being used on Windows 2% of the time? This doesn’t account for the Mac users that aren’t on OS X either. Clearly something is askew in the tracking because while many people have multiple browsers installed (I have six), I have a hard time believing many surf with more than one.

  13. 13

    Thanks for putting this all in one place. Its only a matter of time before Firefox takes over the world… MUHAHAHAHAHAH

  14. 14

    I would say the important thing to take away from the browser stats is that while IE6 still has more people using it than any other single browser version, It is no longer holding a majority when you combine “modern” browsers. IE7, FF 1.5 and 2, Safari 2 and Opera 9.2 add up to just over 47%, and those five browsers do not need as much (or any) adjusting to make a site work as intended.

    “An average web user browses with Internet Explorer 6.0 on Windows XP with the screen resolution 1024×768” is the wrong thing to take away from this info. It is more accurate to say that an average web users browses with a “modern” browser on XP at 10×7.

    In other words, IE6 is the exception, not the rule. Maybe this is obvious to everyone, but I felt it needed to be pointed out.

  15. 15

    Look at the actual poll page:

    50% of 800×600 users maximise
    73% of 1024×768

    and so on.

  16. 16

    I’m proud to be Slovenian. We have the best firefox usage percentage.

  17. 17

    nice article, it would be also interesting how many people surf with deactivated java / flash

  18. 18

    Nice and usefull article. thanks a lot sir

  19. 19

    Great article!

    Would also be interesting to find out what is the typical user of a certain blog. Many bloggers use traffic analysis tools like ETracker or Google Analytics. Maybe we should start a blog carnival asking all participants to post some info about their typical users. This would surely reveal some funny fact, e.g. from which exotic countries some visitor came or which absocure google search was used to find the blog.

  20. 20

    I thought a lot more users still use 800×600. That good to know!

  21. 21

    There are some pretty well known CSS guys out there who does that!

    Care to mention some names? I highly doubt that any well-known ‘CSS guys’, ie those who advocate web standards and accessibility best practices, would be so misguided as to recommend ignoring IE.

  22. 22

    a very interesting post
    i haven’t known that the IE is soooo widespreed
    but –> FIREFOX 4 EVER

  23. 23

    Would also be interesting to find out what is the typical user of a certain blog

  24. 24

    ^ It ate my comment.

  25. 25

    I’d be interseted to know if anyone has got any stats on browser usage for Canada and America.

    Great article. Thanks.

  26. 26

    I’m wondering how effective this is for the Mac. While browsers do have an ‘enlarge’ option, it does not really maximize the window to the true width of the screen at all times. I wonder if this functionality is either misleading or killing the statistics somehow. Also, perhaps more users would ‘maximize’ on the Mac if the functionality was truly available.

  27. 27

    Another great article – thanks. I am curious though, your stats show IE coming out way ahead in the most popular browsers, but the stats on my site, (The List Universe, shows that over the last 2.5 million views I have received, 56% are using firefox, and 34% are using IE 6 and 7. Oh – and nearly 6% of views are coming from Safari users – 4% more than your stats. Is it possible that the W3 counter is somehow skewed?

  28. 28

    nice one.

    most of my websites are less than 1000px width. anyway, what I’m really intersted in is what my visitors will use in two month or so. this way I won’t have to re-design everything twice a year… What will happen if MS push IE7 in auto update without WGA ? IE6 will hugely decline!!!

    as we’re on the subject. How do they measure that people have non -maximazed windows ? If I use a non-maximized window that is 800×600, will they know I’m 1024×768 ot will they take this as a maximized 800×600 window ?

  29. 29

    What a coincidence! This night I’ve make similar page like this.

    My site, Google coop/folksonomy directory Globalno Selo (Global Village) in most, have visitors from Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro. I’ve created a page with statistics about visitors browser usage and display resolution. Stats here.

    This statistics may be interesting because there is no data for Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro on the SM europe map.

  30. 30

    Great article again, my favorite subjects are in good hands with you folks!
    I’m a Mac user, and never maximaze a window, it doesn’t really have a button for maximizing either in Firefox nor Safari, I’m sure that makes a difference in the stats.
    I do use a the OPT-CMD-H al lot to keep my nerves quite though.

  31. 31

    Rather than saying “most popular” browser (IE), I think you should say “most used”. “Most popular” implies “I like it the best” while most of us know IE is used the most because the average Joe is not aware or inclined to use other browsers.

  32. 32

    I think FF will be equal with IE in the near future if all develops just as now

  33. 33

    Nice article. But sad info. IE is still the most pop browser? Tragedy.

    Thanks Smashing Mag for the 8 valuable points.

  34. 34

    Thanks for the interesting information!

  35. 35

    Nicely put! a little sigh because of IE though…

  36. 36
  37. 37

    Great Article!!

  38. 38

    I’d like to see the new numbers (June, 2008) for Firefox. As of this month, my site: TopTenz was getting 85% of its traffic from Firefox. And since 70% of my traffic is from StumbleUpon I guess that is a Stumblers browser of choice. This was from over 20,000 visitors this month.

  39. 39

    Great Research and Post. though I agree that windows size do matter like 1024×768 to increase the visiting rate according to some research I read before this one. I would like to feature this post on my site Always10 – Top 10 List if you don’t mind and thanks for sharing this post.

  40. 40

    I stumbled across this article and realize that things have changed a lot in past few years.

    My site: FromDev gets more traffic from chrome and firefox. and a large number from mobile devices. IE is still not vanished but reduced heavily.

    As I read in some of the comments. The firefox and chrome have increase in popularity and many people are now using them heavily.

    Though the stats may be different based on category since my readers are mostly web developers therefore choices may vary with the type of audience.

    I would be interested to see a follow up on this post and see how it look now.

    Thanks for sharing.


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