XiTiMonitor, a French web metrics firm, has reported that Firefox's popularity as a web browser in Europe is growing.

The open-source alternative's user numbers are so high that Internet Explorer is in danger of losing its market share lead in some countries.

The statistics were gathered over a one week period in early July and shows Firefox's market share across 32 European countries has grown to 27.8%, up from 20% in January 2006.

Firefox is most popular in central and eastern Europe, with 47.9% of Slovenian surfers using Firefox, Finland is in second place with 45.4% while Slovakia has 40.4% using Firefox.

Other countries over the 30% mark are Poland with 39.6%, Germany with 38.0%, and Austria with 30.7%.

Microsoft recently released their latest browser, Internet Explorer 7.0 and Apple made their Safari browser available to Windows users, so these figures are particularly positive for Mozilla as they have been measured at a time when there are strong rival products available.