March 2010 Search Market Share

Recently the Dow Jones Industrial Average broke the 11,000 mark, and The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had decreased in February, rebounded in March.  Both are good signs for those of us looking for positive indications of an economic recovery, but is the search market exhibiting a similar trend and helping to paint a rosy outlook?

So what did we find in March for Web Search?

  • Overall search volume increased 5.3% M-O-M across the 5 major search engines.
  • Despite a 7ppt decline in market share, Google still witnessed a 4.3% M-O-M increase in search volume.
  • Yahoo not only saw a nearly 6ppt increase in search volume for the month, it’s holding on steady to its market share at 12.4%.
  • Microsoft continues its double digit monthly growth in volume (which has been steadily increasing since October 2009), and increased its share of market by 6ppts.
  • Ask and AOL market share remain consistent from February.

Note that the queries included in the market share index above are web search only, not including search queries performed in other dedicated search categories such as maps, travel, shopping, etc.  How does it change when you fold in the Vertical searches?

In previous blog posts, we’ve alluded to the expansion of Compete’s reporting to include these vertical section queries into the overall market share numbers.   This month, to help us round out our overall understanding about the US economy, let’s take an opportunity to look at one industry vertical in particular — shopping.

So what is this data telling us?

  • The fact that the overall search query volume in March is lower than December’s total shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that it’s no longer the season for gift giving.
  • Shopping search volume did experience a slight lift — 1.0% – from February to March.

Not exactly earth-shattering news; however, interesting trends start to emerge in terms of search market share among the major engines when looking specifically at the shopping vertical.  As opposed to web search overall, where Google dominates, Bing is growing, and Yahoo is declining (or staying steady at least for now) — the picture is quite different:

  • Ask and AOL remain minor players, that hasn’t changed.
  • While Google is still the market share leader, Yahoo and Bing each own over 30% of the total shopping vertical search volume.
  • In fact, Yahoo experienced the highest  M-O-M lift with a 4.6% lift from February.

This will be interesting to continue to monitor in the coming months, as gift-giving holidays come back into the picture.