Firefox is bleeding users — 46 million lost in three years

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Mozilla’s Firefox, the once prevalent internet browser, has reportedly lost 46 million users over the past three years. The likely culprits are  the lack of significant updates and the overwhelming popularity of browsers like Google Chrome. Even Microsoft was making this challenging for Mozilla, coercing users to use Edge, before changing its mind after much public outcry.

The website was first to break the news after examining Firefox’s Pubic Date Report. In the report, it shows a steady decline that spanned the course of three years. At the end of 2018, Firefox had over 244 million active users. Fast forward to 2021 and there’s only 198 million active users left. That’s a significant drop in a short amount of time. 

Firefox wasn’t always struggling to maintain users. At one point, it competed with the likes of Internet Explorer, which was king in the early 2000s. Back in 2008, Firefox accounted for around 30% of all browser usage. That was of course before Google’s Chrome was on solid footing.

Nowadays, Chrome towers over other desktop and mobile browsers with its 65% market share. This is partly because of Google's constant updates and dominance on Android devices. It’s also because both Firefox and Microsoft's new Edge browser can’t seem to evolve quickly enough to compete. Although, Edge is now Chromium based, so it's closer to Chrome.

Mozilla’s Firefox won’t disappear overnight. It still has a large number of users, and it's the default browser for Linux users. And of course, not all users are pleased with Chrome, which is still a memory hog. That said, if this downward spiral continues, it could spell trouble for Firefox, which makes 94% of its revenue from royalties earned through web browser search partnerships.

Essentially, the more users Firefox loses, the less money it makes. Earlier this year, Mozilla did see a radical redesign, and has doubled-down on password security and VPN features. Mozilla is still a light browser overall, and the addition of features could help it better compete with Google Chrome, but if this downward trend continues it could spell doom for Firefox. 

Kenneth Seward Jr.

Kenneth Seward Jr. is a freelance writer, editor and illustrator who covers games, movies and more. Follow him @kennyufg and on Twitch.