This past holiday season may have been the worst in years for retailers, but that certainly wasn’t the case for search engines. Across the board, the leading search engines hit record query volume in December as consumers searched again and again for deals in a tight economy.
The Top 5 engines grew by a weighted average of 9.4% in December 2008. Yahoo! led the pack, surging 10.8% in a single month, while Google served up an impressive 663M more queries than it did in November.
Looking back, 2008 was the Year of Google. The undisputed search heavyweight champion of the world hit 70.5% market share in December, up 8.0ppts versus 2007. Market share gains came directly from rivals, who lost share across the board, none more so than Yahoo!, down 4.6ppts for the year. Google has led the search market for years now, but 2008 only widened its lead.
Yahoo! inched its way to 19.0% market share in December, up 0.3ppts versus Novmeber, but not enough to recover from bruising prior months. Yahoo! sank below 20% market share for the first time ever in September 2008.
MSN/Live wrapped up the year with a similar story, whether or not you count Club Live. The Redmond rival capped off the year with 6.9% or 10.1% market share, depending on if count its search games.
Ask and AOL were essentially flat for the month and down for the year in terms of market share. Interestingly, they were the only two search engines to actually lose query volume compared to December 2007.
Highlights from last month (excluding Club Live)"¦
- Google closes out the year with tremendous 9.2% query growth and 8.0ppts market share higher than December, 2007
- Yahoo! also delivers astounding single-month query growth at 10.8%, though market share fell 4.6ppts over the year
- Windows Live Search stayed at 6.9% market share with impressive 9.8% query volume growth
- Ask and AOL held on with 2.4% and 1.0% market share, respectively, and query volume was down for the year
- Next month"¦ January brings Inaugural Mania and the Superbowl!
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*Search market share includes web search only for the Adult US Online Population and is calculated based on unique queries within each session during the given month