Most Web browser extensions remain on the shelf

Read time 1min 40sec

If you have some development skills, quickly whipping up a killer extension to the world’s most popular Web browser would be an easy way to boost your income. Right?

The most popular Web browser – by far – is Google Chrome, the cross-platform freeware  browser developed by Google on its open source Chromium project. According to W3Counter’s browser stats for July 2019, Chrome currently holds 55,4% of the worldwide browser market, with its closest competitor, Safari, commanding a distant 12.5% market share. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Edge browsers are further back at 8.6%. Firefox, the only truly open source browser, holds an even smaller share of the market, with just 6.5%.

So, if you had an idea for a browser extension in mind, it would make sense to focus on Chrome.

Not so fast. A recent analysis of the Chrome Web Store conducted by web security company Extension Monitor, found that the Chrome extension market is hugely competitive with over 188 000 Chrome extensions currently available.

Despite the fact that these extensions have been installed more than 1.2 billion times, the fact is that only 13 extensions have over 10 million users. At the other end of the popularity spectrum, there are 19 379 extensions – just more than 10% of the total number of extensions – that have never been downloaded and installed, by anyone. Not once.

Another 13.5% have only one user, and 50% have fewer than 16 installs. Overall, 87% of all Chrome browser extensions available on the Chrome Web Store have been installed less than 1 000 times.

Price does not appear to be a factor in the popularity of the extensions as over 90% are offered free of charge. It is worth noting, however, that of the 16 718 paid extensions, some 35% don’t have any users at all. However, the most popular paid extension, IE Tab, has been installed a total of 4.1 million times.


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