According to the latest statistics from NetMarketShare, the current penetration of HTML5-compatible browsers in the desktop market is 58.1% maximum. To completely serve these browers, you’d have to encode in three formats, with 47.5% of desktops compatible with WebM, 44.1% compatible with H.264, and 8.3% compatible with Ogg (this is the Firefox 3.6 crowd).
To calculate these numbers, I created the spreadsheet that you can view here. I grabbed the share of all browsers that had a share exceeding 1%, and determined if they were or weren’t HTML5 compatible. In the 1% or above group, 51.7% were HTML5 compatible and 41.9% were not. Assuming that all of the remaining 6.4% were HTML5 compatible, the maximum percentage of HTML5 compatible browsers is now at 58.1% (100% – 41.9%).
If your web site stopped supporting Flash (or other plug-in technology) today, you’d lose over 40% of your desktop audience. Remember this next time you hear someone say it’s time to drop Flash and start supporting exclusively HTML5.
To support the existing set of HTML5 viewers, you’d have to produce in three formats as detailed below. Note that I put Chrome, which currently supports H.264 and WebM, in both columns. Google stated early in 2011 that they would remove H.264 playback from Chrome but have not yet done so. Firefox 3.6 viewers can only play Ogg, so to support these folks, you’d have to supply an Ogg file.
As I detailed last week, pretty much 100% of mobile browsers are HTML5 compatible, so using HTML5 in mobile markets makes a lot more sense, particularly now that Adobe is ceasing further development of the Flash Player on mobile platforms. For this reason, as I discuss here, it may make sense to present HTML5 first with the H.264 codec to serve the mobile market, but it’s to early to abandon Flash for your desktop viewers. Not to early to start thinking about it for some sites, but too early to actually do it.