Microsoft Edge, the company’s flagship web browser, has grown rapidly since going live last year, but new numbers suggest the service may have hit a sharp plateau.
According to data from Statcounter, Edge’s market share fell month-over-month for the first time, from 3.45% in March to 3.39% in April. This decline marks the end of a series of fourteen consecutive months of growth.
On its previous trajectory, Edge seemed poised to take the leap from established rival Firefox, which has suffered a slow but steady decline over the past twelve months. However, although Firefox only holds 3.59% of the market, the latest data suggests that the predictions may have been wrong.
New Microsoft Edge
Microsoft launched the new Chromium-based Edge in January 2020, with the launch of the first stable version. It took a few months for the Navigator to gain momentum, but its growth accelerated rapidly in the spring.
The increase in adoption can be attributed in part to renewed marketing efforts, but also to improvements to the platform that bring it in line with the experience a user might expect from a modern web browser. .
The introduction of features like vertical and scrolling tabs, a secure password generator, and a built-in price comparison tool have proven popular with users. As are a number of changes designed to improve browser performance, including sleeping tabs and a feature known as a startup boost.
In a recent update, Microsoft also said it bundles the new Edge with Windows 10 by default, dramatically increasing the browser install base almost overnight. However, it seems that a larger install base did not necessarily translate into a larger user base.
Although Microsoft is encouraged by its early performance, Edge remains a minor player compared to Google Chrome, which holds 64.47% of the market. Despite the controversy surrounding Google’s new replacement for third-party cookies, FLoC, Edge seems to have struggled to keep users away from the best dog.
Another factor contributing to the apparent plateau is that, so far, Edge’s growth has been fueled by the decline of Internet Explorer and Edge Legacy, both of which have been retired by Microsoft.
Over the past twelve months, Internet Explorer’s market share has grown from 1.41% to 0.71%, while Edge Legacy has fallen from 2.23% to 0.25%. With little to exploit here, Microsoft will have to find a way to snatch users away from the biggest browsers on the market if Edge is to resume growth.